BRATTLEBORO, VT. — Working to prevent or slow down climate change should continue to be a major focus of the building industry, but that is no longer enough, according to Alex Wilson and Andrea Ward in an article in Environmental Building News magazine. In a Sept. 2009 feature article entitled, "Design for Adaptation: Living in a Climate-Changing World," they argue that it is necessary to address how to adapt our buildings and communities to the impacts of those changes, which are already underway.
"Even if carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions were to be somehow turned off tomorrow, warming temperatures, more intense storms, flooding and other impacts of climate change will continue and we need to address that in our design practices," said Wilson.
The EBN article makes the case that climate change is not only happening, but it is happening at a more rapid rate than even climate models predicted just a few years ago.
"The reality of climate change is unequivocal," according to Jonathan Overpeck, Ph.D., co-director of the Institute of the Environment at the University of Arizona, who was quoted in the article. He and other experts interviewed for the article, including Stephen Schneider, Ph.D., of Stanford University, argue that adaptation to a changing climate is a high priority today.
The article describes 36 specific strategies for addressing adaptation to climate change, organized into five major headings.
"We are fortunate," said Wilson, "that many of the strategies available for adapting to climate change offer other benefits, such as lower building operating costs, better environmental performance and improved durability.