The Path to Low Carbon Resilience
Canadian Property Management | March 2023
Hassan Bokhary, Engineer-in-Training, BSc, EIT, CEM, LEED® Green Associate, CPHD
Building resilience is a holistic term that applies to all aspects of building design. The definition, according to the U.S. Department of Energy, is: “The ability to resist being affected by an event or the ability to return to an acceptable level of performance in an acceptable period of time after being affected by an event closing.”
Hassan Bokhary, performance Engineer-in-Training at RJC Engineers (RJC), prefers to describe it another way: “Resilience in the built environment is the process of introducing green house gas mitigation strategies while also adapting to future climate loads,” he said. “Both of these measures have synergistic benefits and by implementing one, the other is often accounted for.”
With climate change threatening to bring increased weather events, loss of biodiversity, and food insecurity among other consequences, building owners today are expected to take all means necessary to limit their greenhouse gas emissions.
“Across the world we have seen the dire consequences ranging from droughts in Europe and China to flooding in Pakistan and East Australia,” Bokhary said. “All these events have led to the loss of billions of dollars in infrastructure, substantial loss of life, and in some cases, they have created a humanitarian crisis. In Canada, we have seen the increasing frequency of massive wildfires, rising summer temperatures, and flooding of low lying areas. With all our past predictive modelling now proving accurate, it is time to act lest things become even worse.”
If owners and operators do not address their building’s deficiencies in a timely manner, Bokhary warns they run the risk of being exposed to several costly and potentially dangerous outcomes, overheating being one of them.
“Overheating is a scenario that can arise due to high solar heat gains and a lack of cooling,” he said. “When space temperatures inside become dangerously high, tenants (especially the vulnerable ones) are susceptible to heat exhaustion and stroke.