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Will our buildings be ready for the climate of the future? » Yale Climate Connections


Architects and engineers need to make sure that the buildings they design will withstand heat, rain, and other harsh weather.

Ariane Laxo of the architecture firm HGA says that to determine what’s expected in a location, the industry typically relies on historical weather data.

Laxo: “They’re generally looking at the past.”

But global warming is changing weather conditions. So Laxo says if architects and engineers do not consider future climate change, their projects may not perform well over time.

For example, buildings may not have adequately sized HVAC systems or enough insulation to keep people cool during increasingly extreme heat waves.

Or a property may lack the capacity to divert large amounts of stormwater during intense downpours.

Laxo co-authored a recent report that suggests ways to avoid these kinds of problems.

Laxo: “We really feel like there’s a need for architects and engineers to be at least looking at the data that’s provided by the National Climate Assessment or by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.”

To make that happen, she says building codes and standards should be updated. And clients should ask architects to design with climate change in mind.

Reporting credit: Ethan Freedman / ChavoBart Digital Media





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