Adapting Buildings for a Changing Climate

Adapting Buildings for a Changing Climate

Understanding the impact and role of buildings in adapting to climate change

Since the mid-eighteenth century, atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases have increased in the atmosphere due to human activities. These anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions have caused an increase in the average air temperature, changed precipitation patterns, increased the duration and intensity of storm events, and promoted sea level rise. While most policy efforts have focused on reducing greenhouse gas emissions, the warming trend will continue for several centuries even if emissions are stabilized because of the inertia of the global climate system.

Therefore, policymakers and practitioners will need to select effective adaptation strategies to cope with a changing climate. Although the building stock interacts with energy use, transportation patterns, and public health, most recent assessments of climate change have failed to address the role of buildings in adapting to climate change. This research project proposes to close this knowledge gap.

This project, funded by New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) and led by Nicholas Rajkovich, an Assistant Professor in the School of Architecture and Planning, will be carried out in four phases:

  1. An integrated assessment of the influence of climate change on the building stock in New York State
  2. Economic modeling to determine state-wide direct and indirect impacts on economic output and employment
  3. The creation of a document identifying response strategies
  4. Dissemination of the results through reports, a symposium, a series of webinars, and publication in the peer-reviewed literature.