Feature Article

The Four Core Issues to Tackle for Resilient Design (And the Programs That Can Help)

As new rating systems from LEED to REDi lay out key design steps for resilient design, it’s still up to project teams to bring critical perspective.

March 7, 2016

Hurricanes, tsunamis, tornadoes, and other disasters have drawn attention to resilient design mostly by showing us what not to do in the built environment. We’ve come a long way in a short time, and today we’re on the cusp of having metrics and rating systems that clearly define what we should do—how to design buildings that can withstand natural disasters and even remain functional during and after disruptions.

These new frameworks (the major ones are REDi, RELi, FORTIFIED, and pilot credits in LEED, all discussed in detail below) are for the first time enabling practitioners to set quantifiable goals for resilience. A pilot project for the REDi rating system currently in design in San Francisco, 181 Fremont, will be capable of being reoccupied immediately after a magnitude 8.0 earthquake and will sustain financial losses under 2.5% of project’s total value, according to its engineers. Other rating systems aim to maintain livable temperatures without mechanical systems for more than a week or to expand occupancy without losing off-grid capabilities.