‘Green’, ‘Smart’ and ‘Sustainable’ have been key buzzwords in the construction and energy sectors in recent years. These are still important factors when planning a build. However, ‘resilient design’ has become the most crucial principle to consider when creating a new structure.
Buildings have always needed to stand the test of time but even more so these days. Natural disasters such as hurricanes, wildfires, storms, earthquakes, and flooding are all too a regular occurrence. As the planet warms up, the impact of climate change will only lead to more extreme weather events. It’s also predicted that cities will become more overcrowded and congested, meaning there will be an increasingly greater need for resilience in the built environment. It’s therefore crucial that residential and commercial structures need to be prepared. Buildings need to adapt, recover rapidly, and maintain functionality in the aftermath of an unpredictable or disastrous event.
The key elements required to create a resilient building include utilising locally sourced robust, natural and sustainable materials. Components with longer life spans are more economical and environmentally friendly. Building on locations far away from floodplains minimises the risk of flooding during torrential rain. Adopting design principles that lend themselves to improving building performance. Carbon footprint and impact on the environment can also be decreased by building smaller houses that require less space on the land.
Keeping a building warm or cool enough during a long term power or heating fuel outage is crucial. Installing greater insulation and generating on-site renewable energy enables a building to maintain comfortable temperatures.
Implementing an efficient and resourceful water strategy is important in the event of a natural disaster. Improving water storage through conserving and harvesting rainwater provides a back-up supply of water in the case of emergencies.
Strategically positioning a building to benefit from the natural light and heat generated by the sun will lessen the need for energy, therefore, increasing its resilience. Daylight is also incredibly important for maintaining an occupants health, wellbeing and productivity.