Communities share the road to resiliency

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In the past year, each of 22 weather and climate disasters has inflicted more than $1 billion in damage. Thirteen severe storms, seven tropical cyclones, along with wildfire and drought events, devastated lives and properties.[1]

Still, climate change causes and impacts are often publicly disputed. Over the past 50 years, many warnings by politicians and scientists have been ignored.[2] Tragically, inaction has delayed any planning or investments which might have reduced suffering and damage.

Flooded city

Cities now confront further challenges with the COVID-19 crisis and political discord. Climate change has accelerated and amplified the pandemic. Even after many communities turned attention away from environmental concerns, greenhouse gases have continued to accumulate.

Faced with compounded challenges, leaders at all levels of government will benefit from greater resiliency: enhancing disaster preparation and bringing quicker recovery.[3]

In meeting a challenge, a first step can be the most important one. Fortunately, it doesn’t have to be a difficult step. A journey to resiliency can begin with benchmarking, using tools that already exist and are cost-effective. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has compiled much of the necessary benchmarking data. From there, collaboration, engagement, and planning can leverage regional and community efforts.

Benchmarking

The EPA’s Cumulative Resilience Screening Index (CRSI) quantifies five domains of disaster resilience:

  • Risk
  • Governance
  • Built environment
  • Natural environment
  • Society

Detailed results are reported county-by-county, within 10 EPA districts. A recent 287-page update to the CSRI[4] identifies which of a county’s domains are least resilient to climate change. This can help a community prioritize needs and allocate resources.

Collaboration, engagement, and planning

Regional Resilience Collaboratives have formed nationwide, enabling communities to pool their planning knowledge and expertise and accelerate their progress toward resiliency. Within those collaborative groups, even smaller cities with limited budgets can address climate change impacts. All communities achieve further resiliency as best practices and policies are shared.[5]

The need for collaboration and the benefits of it vary with each region’s unique climate change concerns. In California, one focus has been to boost resiliency to wildfire emergencies. In Florida, planning councils have developed strategies for hurricane/flooding preparation and response. The planning by these collaboratives also address equity, emissions reduction, and more:

  • Tampa Bay Regional Resiliency Collaborative[6]
  • East Central Florida Regional Resilience Collaborative[7]
  • Northeast Florida Regional Council[8]
  • Southeast Florida Regional Climate Change Compact[9]
Regional Resilience
TOOLKIT IMPLEMENTATION: The starting point depends on community needs/progress.

The EPA has published a Regional Resilience Toolkit[10] for cities and counties nationwide. The 228-page toolkit documents how the effects of climate change can be anticipated and responded to regionally. Working together, government and civic groups can optimize their resilience, guided by core community values.

ecoPreserve is here to help RRCs and individual communities benchmark and strategically address disaster resilience.

[1] NOAA.gov
[2] ScienceMag.org
[3] YouMatter.world
[4] EPA.gov — CRSI
[5] CoastalBreezeNews.com
[6] TBRPC.org — Tampa Bay Regional Resiliency Collaborative
[7] ECFRPC.org — East Central Florida Regional Planning Council/Resilience Collaborative
[8] NEFRPC.org — Northeast Florida Regional Council
[9] SoutheastFloridaClimateCompact.org
[10] EPA.gov — Regional Resilience Toolkit

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AWARE of CDC and NIH guidelines

The Baseline Property Condition Assessments described in ASTM E2018-15 do not specify consideration of infectious disease transmission concerns. In a pandemic and post-pandemic environment, that inspection and documentation is essential.

Buildings open to the public must comply with local regulations. For best results and greatest public acceptance, any planning for building repairs and maintenance should not overlook current CDC and NIH guidelines.

Optionally, ecoPreserve's can assist with a comprehensive GBAC STAR™ Accreditation which extends beyond the building to include the goals, actions, equipment, and supplies needed to implement best practices for outbreak prevention, response, and recovery.

Tools tailored to location and need

Disaster resilience requires a select toolset, identified, adapted, or created as needed based on planning calls and inclusive workshop participation.

Business and government organizations today are confronted by threat categories that range from drought to flood, from fire to hurricane, and extend globally to pandemics and sea level rise. Threat categories are broad and diverse, but ecoPreserve and collaborating organizations design resiliency tools for specific local context.

Local needs are identified and verified. Building from that essential understanding, tools are designed, tested in pilot programs, refined, then implemented through action plans.

Today's challenges/
tomorrow's potential

ecoPreserve collaborates with major community and private organizations in optimizing the resiliency and resource efficiency of their workplaces, venues, and public spaces.

In response to ever-increasing environmental, sociopolitical, and public health challenges, we advocate for and participate in assessment and planning actions that directly address disaster preparations, recovery activities, infrastructure improvements, and smart building/city design.

Online and in-person workshops

ecoPreserve designs and leads workshops in varied formats, to achieve varied goals.

Often an event is held for skill and knowledge development, but some needs of an organization or community are better resolved through collaboration to identify requirements and to design solutions. A range of Disaster Resilience workshops are available for solutions planning and development, as well as for training and communication.

Disaster Planning and Recovery Workshops

  • Identify technical and business process gaps
  • Define stakeholders, recovery teams, and processes/functionalities necessary for operation
  • Highlight missed expectations from a data loss and recovery time perspective
  • Address compliance with regulatory agencies and industry standards
Here's how to request further information. Thank you for reaching out!

Here's how to request further information. Thank you for reaching out!

Facility Condition Report

The report is prepared in accordance with the recommendations of ASTM E2018-15, Standard Guide for Property Condition Assessments. This is a partial list of contents:

  • PHYSICAL CONDITION
    • General condition of the building, grounds, and appurtenances
    • Physical deficiencies, their significance, and suggested remedies
    • Photographs
    • Safety issues observed
  • INFECTIOUS DISEASE SPREAD POTENTIAL
  • OPPORTUNITIES
    • Potential operating efficiencies
    • Electricity and water use reductions
    • High-efficiency interior and exterior lighting
  • ORDER OF MAGNITUDE RENOVATION BUDGET
    • Recommended interior finishes
    • Construction costs

Risk Mitigation Improvements

  • IAQ
    • Airflow
    • Temperature and humidity
    • Vertical transportation (escalators and elevators)
  • HVAC EQUIPMENT
    • Settings
    • Conditions
    • Capability
    • Filtration
  • FLOORPLAN
    • Traffic patterns
  • FURNISHINGS
    • Placement for social distancing
    • Clear barriers where social distancing is not possible

Interior Elements

  • Foundation
  • Building frame and roof
  • Structural elements
    • Floors, walls, ceilings
    • Access and egress
    • Vertical transportation (escalators and elevators)
  • HVAC equipment and ductwork
  • Utilities
    • Electrical
    • Plumbing
  • Safety and fire protection

Grounds and Appurtenances

  • Façades or curtainwall
  • Topography
  • Storm water drainage
  • Paving, curbing, and parking
  • Flatwork
  • Landscaping
  • Recreational facilities
Here's how to request further information. Thank you for reaching out!

AWARE of CDC and NIH guidelines

The Baseline Property Condition Assessments described in ASTM E2018-15 do not specify consideration of infectious disease transmission concerns. In a pandemic and post-pandemic environment, that inspection and documentation is essential.

Buildings open to the public must comply with local regulations. For best results and greatest public acceptance, any planning for building repairs and maintenance should not overlook current CDC and NIH guidelines.

Optionally, ecoPreserve's can assist with a comprehensive GBAC STAR™ Accreditation which extends beyond the building to include the goals, actions, equipment, and supplies needed to implement best practices for outbreak prevention, response, and recovery.

An OPTIMIZED Assessment

Certified Sustainability Consultants on a facility assessment team can discover ways to lower energy costs. Their understanding of HVAC equipment suitability and condition along with the specifics of LED lighting retrofits can provide offsets for needed investments in upgrades and replacements.

Knowledge of water systems can bring further savings while averting water waste. It can all be part of an assessment which might otherwise overlook water fixtures and irrigation schedules.

How should a facility be ASSESSED?

A thorough facility assessment finds the issues - on the surface or below - which have a potential negative impact on the building. That brings the facility to meet building codes. Beyond that, the assessment proactively addresses the deficiencies not covered by code.

The occupants of a building benefit as the assessment reveals conditions having a potential impact on their health or safety. The assessment must not overlook those conditions, nor fail to consider the frequency and duration of occupant visits.