Assessing the Climate Change Adaptability of Buildings by Malay Dave, Arvind Varshney and Peter Graham

Buildings present a significant amount of opportunity for climate mitigation. Since they are long-lived assets, they also present great challenges for adaptation to projected as well as unexpected climate change impacts. These impacts will have consequences for building design and fabric, as well as for people in and around buildings and for their health and well-being. It is essential that we identify the nature and extent of their vulnerabilities and resilience if they are to be adapted in a timely and effective manner. There are many assessment tools and methods being developed and used for identifying vulnerability and adaptive capacity of various systems from planning to urban governance. However, there appears to be a knowledge and policy gap in the area of assessment of buildings in particular measuring their vulnerability and aiding in creating climate-adaptable and resilient buildings.This paper aims to identify knowledge and policy gaps for climate-adaptable buildings. The specific objectives of this research are:▪   To identify major issues and challenges with regard to existing and new buildings▪   To identify what measures have already been proposed or implemented▪   To outline past, current and planned research activities▪   To identify knowledge gaps and priority areas of research and policyThe study was conducted based solely on a literature review (approximately 200 documents were sourced and about 100 annotated). The first part presents a general background of the subject. The research focused on understanding emerging themes and various definitions on adaptability and resilience in buildings from various Australian and international literature sources. This along with an exploration of the complexities associated with defining climate-adaptable buildings is explored in the second part of this paper. The third part of the paper deals with adaptation approaches for buildings, which is the core focus of this paper. This part is divided in to two sections: the first presents a compilation of various assessment tools, methodologies and metrics being used internationally and in Australia; and the second presents a collection of various design and policy approaches including regulatory initiatives being used internationally and in Australia. Past, current and planned research activities that specifically relate to the subject are also outlined in this part. The paper concludes with observations and recommendations for research and policy priorities.

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