Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Climate Change Preparedness and Resiliency Guidelines

In December 2013, the Boston Redevelopment Authority implemented a Climate Change Preparedness and Resiliency Checklist for all new construction. The development review requirements have been added to Article 80 Project Review of the zoning ordinance. The new ordinance includes guidelines, climate change analysis and research documents and the checklist.

The checklist, which can be extremely useful to the design and development industry, identifies a wide range of possible impact issues including extreme temperatures, blackouts, extreme wind, drought and sea level rise and storms. The focus is building resilience and adaptability to these changing conditions. The guidelines start off with the following paragraph.
“Analyze project impacts on the surrounding environment that are attributable to forecasted climate conditions over the full duration of the expected life of the project. Utilizing the best available science, identify the changes in the climate and environment and how changes will affect the project’s environmental impacts including survivability, integrity and safety of the project and its inhabitants.”

Clearly, this material can provide a myriad of benefits and it impacts how sustainability will now be considered and evaluated. These regulatory changes will also widen sustainability conversations to include adaptation and resilience in projects at both a building and community scale.