Prioritizing Residential High-Performance Resilient Building Technologies for Immediate and Future Climate Induced Natural Disaster Risks

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Virginia Tech


Climate change is exacerbating natural disasters, and extreme weather events increase with intensity and frequency. This requires an in-depth evaluation of locations across the various U.S. climates where natural hazards, vulnerabilities, and potentially damaging impacts will vary. At the local building level within the built environment, private residences are crucial shelter systems to protect against natural disasters, and are a central component in the greater effort of creating comprehensive disaster resilient environments. In light of recent disasters such as Superstorm Sandy, there is an increased awareness that residential buildings and communities need to become more resilient for the changing climates they are located in, or will face devastating consequences. There is a great potential for specific high-performance building technologies to play a vital role in achieving disaster resilience on a local scale. The application of these technologies can not only provide immediate protection and reduced risk for buildings and its occupants, but can additionally alleviate disaster recovery stressors to critical infrastructure and livelihoods by absorbing, adapting, and rapidly recovering from extreme weather events, all while simultaneously promoting sustainable building development. However, few have evaluated the link between residential high-performance building technologies and natural disaster resilience in regards to identifying and prioritizing viable technologies to assist decision-makers with effective implementation. This research developed a framework for a process that prioritizes residential building technologies that encompass both high-performance and resilience qualities that can be implemented for a variety of housing contexts to mitigate risks associated with climate induced natural hazards. Decision-makers can utilize this process to evaluate a residential building for natural disaster risks, and communicate strategies to improve building performance and resilience in response to such risks.



High-Performance Buildings, Disaster Resilience, Natural Disaster Risks, Hurricanes, Building Enclosure, Residential Buildings