Green Roofs - Living Architecture Monitor - Spring 2013 - (Page 1)

FROM THE FOUNDER Human HealtH, Resiliency and living aRcHitectuRe I n 2011, the United States experienced a record of 14 extreme weather related disasters, each causing in excess of $1 billion in damages and many more on a smaller scale. Recently, Hurricane Sandy pummelled New Jersey and New York so hard that the economic impact will likely top $60 billion. In this issue, we examine several aspects of the relationship between resiliency in the face of disaster, human health and living architecture. On page 12, several of our colleagues share with us short stories of how their green roof and wall projects fared under the punishing winds and rains of Hurricane Sandy. Disasters like Sandy and Ka- trina in 2005 have an enormous impact on our grey infrastructure, on ecosystems and on the human health, livelihood and well-being of those affected. Scientists are now in full agreement that climate change intensifies extreme weather events. Many scientists and engineers have been stressing the need to adapt to climate change by focusing on reducing exposure and vulnerability, and increasing our resiliency to the negative impacts of climate extremes like hurricanes, droughts and flooding. A 2012 report, “Managing the Risks of Extreme Events and Disasters to Advance Climate Change Adaptation: Summary for Policy Makers,” prepared by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, states that under current modeling scenarios, a 1-in20-year hottest day event is likely to become a 1-in-2-year hottest event for most regions in North America by the end of the 21st century. Moreover, the 1-in-20-year extreme maximum daily temperatures will likely increase from 2 to 5 degrees C across much of North America by the late 21st century (10). More energy contributes to more intense rainfall and shorter duration. The report states “on a range of emissions scenarios…a 1-in-20-year annual maximum daily precipitation amount is likely to become a 1-in-5 to 1-in-15 year event by the end of the 21st century in many regions.” At a regional level, these impacts may be ever more pronounced, according to a study by the City of Toronto. See chart from the City report on climate change projections by 2040. Living architectural systems have the capacity to contribute multiple solutions to many (not all) of the problems posed by climate extremes. For example, the cooling effects of green roofs and walls are well documented in their ability to help reduce the urban heat island effect, which reduces energy consumption and air pollution. The ability of green roofs to delay, slow, capture and retain stormwater is well established. Moreover, both of these technologies can be designed to produce food, and help to purify water, which during a time of crisis, could come in very handy. The direct healing benefits of living architecture are also well documented, and described in our On the Roof With… interview (pg. 4) with visionary leader Gail Vittori, co-director of the Center for Maximum Potential Building Systems, who developed the Green Guide for Health Care in 2001. The Clients’ Speak (pg. 14) is a new piece that explores living architecture benefits from the perspective of hospital administrators. Hospitals, it turns out, may in fact be the ideal places to utilize living architecture to establish ‘islands of resiliency’ in the face of community disaster—places where citizens can go to find clean water, food and power, even as flood waters rise, fires burn or buildings topple! We have only begun to turn our thoughts to adapting to the emerging extreme climate challenges we are certain to face this century. At CitiesAlive in San Francisco this October, we will share what we know about living architecture and community resiliency. We are far from fully understanding the hidden potential of how living architecture systems can help our communities cope when various disasters strike. Sincerely, Steven W. Peck Founder & President, GRHC FIND OUT MORE Managing the Risks of Extreme Events and Disasters to Advance Climate Change Adaptation: Summary for Policy Makers images/uploads/SREX-SPMbrochure_FINAL.pdf LIVING ARCHITECTURE MONITOR / SpRING 2013 / 1

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Green Roofs - Living Architecture Monitor - Spring 2013

Green Roofs - Living Architecture Monitor - Spring 2013
From The Founder
On the Roof With...
Policy and Standards
Current Research
Living Architecture Meets Hurricane Sandy
How Healthy Is Your Hospital?
New Corporate Members
Professional Calendar
GRHC Board Member Updates
GRHC Buyer’s Guide
The Lucky 7

Green Roofs - Living Architecture Monitor - Spring 2013