Preparing NYC’s buildings for future climate emergencies
Convened in 2013 at the request of the City of New York following Superstorm Sandy, Urban Green led 200-plus task force members in making recommendations to improve building resiliency and maximize preparedness for future weather emergencies.
The task force’s report provides 33 actionable proposals for making New York’s buildings and residents better prepared for the next extreme weather event. The report represents how to strike the right balance between resiliency, cost and other issues that are important to New Yorkers.
Keys to resiliency
- Increase the strength of buildings to withstand extreme events
- Improve access to backup power
- Enable buildings to keep occupants safe without power
- Focus on better emergency planning
The level of preparation for commercial buildings, both large and small, is fundamentally a business decision for their owners. Task Force recommendations are intended to minimize interruptions to building functionality while allowing the market to dictate the need to implement resiliency measures. Still, the city has an overall interest in maintaining a viable economy by reducing large-scale business disruption.
Multifamily residences, dorms, hotels, and adult care facilities must provide for essential needs such as safety, drinking water, habitable temperatures, and functioning stairs and elevators. The Task Force intent was to add few financial burdens, and only in the most critical areas, given the limited financial resources available for upgrades.
One- to three-family homes must have protection against storm damage and adequate emergency planning, as water can be supplied without pumps and vertical transportation is not an issue. Since many homeowners have limited financial resources for upgrades, the Task Force avoided adding significant financial burdens.