The Role of Buildings in Climate Adaptation

With a focus on New Jersey, the report discusses considerations related to buildings that can be part of an adaptation strategy. Infrastructure vulnerability is discussed in terms of the social, economic, and environmental impacts that damaged buildings can create. The report describes the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy and the current state of preparedness, and makes a number of recommendations on how the state can improve building resilience.

Consider potential policy options for improving building resilience in your own state or community. 

Among recommendations,  the author argues for:

  • The development of a taxonomy of building types, taking into account construction materials, proximity to other buildings, height, and socioeconomic information of residents;
  • Methods of addressing toxicity issues in building materials;
  • Resilient wall assemblies (e.g. reinforced concrete vs. wood);
  • Decentralization and “smart building” features such as smart-grid connectivity and advanced metering;
  • New models of residential development including rethinking dependence on single-family homes;
  • An examination of safety within shelter-in-place designated building;
  • New resilient building guidelines; and
  • Revised state building codes.

The report also offers an age distribution of New Jersey buildings, a list of adaptation strategies for existing homes and commercial buildings according to cost, and a comparison of five types of wall assembly materials based on resiliency criteria.


Publication Date: May 2014

Author or Affiliated User:

  • Wendy Ortiz

Related Organizations:


Resource Category:

Resource Types:

  • Policy analysis/recommendations

States Affected:

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