Resilient Communities Need Resilient Buildings
The non-profit US Resiliency Council was founded in 2011 by three structural engineers and a mortgage broker who were concerned that we are not as ready as we need to be for future earthquakes or other natural disasters. From their unique professional perspectives, they identified an important obstacle:
Most people lack reliable information about what will happen after a major quake to the buildings in which they live and work.
Most US buildings were constructed decades ago, before we learned lessons from major disasters. Even some structures built to modern building codes or green design targets may suffer significant damage or need to be demolished. Lives, livelihoods, our environment, and economic recovery are at stake.
Our vision is a world where we not only have a low impact on the environment, the environment has a low impact on us.
Without such information, people can’t understand how their decisions will affect their ability to function and survive financially. The result is under-investment in the materials, designs, and technologies that can make buildings – and therefore communities – more resilient. At the heart of the problem is the following truth:
Current building codes are minimum requirements that aim to save lives, not to keep buildings usable after disasters.
Being under-prepared can cripple communities for years. New Orleans suffered immediate losses of nearly $80 billion in Hurricane Katrina, and even ten years later had not fully recovered. In the 2010 and 2011 Christchurch New Zealand earthquakes, more than half of downtown buildings had to be demolished.
The USRC has become a leading organization complimenting green design with resilient design, to achieve true sustainability.
Resilience is top of mind around the nation. See how the USRC is contributing to the conversation.
A Member-Driven Approach to Promote Resilience
The USRC boasts nearly 100 members, among them engineers, architects, builders, industry leaders, and engineering professional organizations. Our members and the more than 70 professionals certified to use the USRC Rating System are engaging the diverse building stakeholder community to promote the benefits of resilience based design. Together we are changing the discussion around the value of long-term resilient thinking. We are developing rating systems for wind, wildfire and flood to supplement our earthquake rating system, and we are actively collaborating with lenders, insurers, and local, state and federal jurisdictions to incentivize investments in resilience.