By: Evelyn Long
Climate change is a never-ending factor in many people’s lives. When it comes to housing, research is still ongoing to find the best ways of making these structures resist the effects of global warming and unruly weather. Here’s a view of the modern options and which features current homeowners should prioritize.
What Are the Current Resilient Housing Options?
The focus on resilient housing has always been strong structural integrity, with wooden housing growing more popular recently. The discovery of how timber can absorb carbon from the air contributed to a slight paradigm shift, creating an urgency to make climate-resilient homes sustainable simultaneously.
Focusing on sustainability and resilience is a good move, considering residential energy use contributes to 20% of greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S. If residential housing options are more energy efficient in their design, it can benefit the occupants and the environment.
One example of sustainable and adaptable housing is modular homes. They’re customizable in their features and materials, so it’s possible to have a building that can withstand rain or shine.
What Obstacles Are Halting Resilient Housing?
The Global Status Report for Buildings and Construction stated that the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted the construction of buildings for a while in 2020, though things seem to be relatively back on track. However, economic instability and inequality are a bigger hindrance keeping humans from resilient housing.
People who are struggling in poverty have the least capabilities when it comes to getting the climate-resilient housing they need. With the climate change crisis approaching, governments are urged to recognize the importance of providing social security and human rights to those struggling to make ends meet.
What Are Resilient Homes For?
Climate change affects weather patterns, so preparing as much as possible is key. There are various scenarios to ready homes for, but here’s an outline of conditions to look into:
● Extreme weather events: News channels report record-breaking temperatures more frequently and are bound to worsen. More than 1.6 billion people living near cities will likely face extreme temperatures by 2050.
● Changing climates: There are already many parts of the world experiencing heat or cold they haven’t before. The spontaneity of weather is essential to prepare for when building climate-resilient homes.
● Poor air quality: Air pollution is rampant in the age of climate change, especially in more urbanized areas without greenery. Climate-resilient homes and cities should prioritize building ventilation to protect people’s health and well-being.
● Drought: The United States is no stranger to drought, with California going through a drawn-out dry period from 2011 to 2019. Knowing the country is susceptible to those conditions is a cause for concern as homes may face a shortage of resources again.
What Features Should Be in Resilient Homes?
Renovation is still an option for those with an existing home to make their house more adaptable to climate change. However, if the materials are easily damaged by moderate climate change events or the home is older, it’s recommended to consult a professional to move forward.
In addition to that, the answer to what exact features should be integrated into resilient housing can vary. It’s important to assess the climate zone a property is in before adding them. After all, when residing in a colder area, it’s unwise to focus on preparing for the freezing temperatures versus worrying about heat and humidity.
That being said, there are still general elements to consider for a climate-resilient home, such as:
● Insulation: Investing in high-grade insulation is crucial to make a property more energy efficient. The right system can keep the cold or heat in the room without making the owners reliant on natural gas, electricity, or fuel.
● Smart home technology: When trying to track energy usage, technology is an asset in homes. For example, it’s possible to turn smart light switches on or off via Bluetooth, making it easier to minimize electricity consumption.
● Water management: Water is one of the most impactful resources when discussing climate change. Look into possible rainwater harvesting and water filtration systems to have at home.
How Soon Should People Prepare Their Homes?
How fast climate change develops depends on how much carbon dioxide and greenhouse gases are pumped into the atmosphere. However, current activities such as deforestation and burning fossil fuels are speeding up the effects of this crisis. It’s imperative to make houses adapt as soon as possible to a world where climate change is prevalent.
Proofing Homes from Climate Change
The battle against climate change is a movement requiring everyone’s effort. By understanding what’s important when constructing and designing homes, people can do their part while upholding safety in the process.
Evelyn Long is a writer and editor focused on construction and sustainability. Her work can be found on Renovated, a web resource for better building and design.