With destructive and deadly storms, heat waves, floods and other climate crises growing more fierce and frequent year by year, we need to figure out new ways to prepare for and minimize the damage that climate change causes to homes and entire communities.
Unfortunately, the vast majority of homes today were built with little or no consideration for resilience to climate change. Most rely on public utilities like electricity, gas, water, and sewage systems, which can leave us unprepared to stay in our homes during extended outages.
It’s a big problem. But there are solutions—lots of them. Knowing where and how to start can feel like half the battle. So, we’ve rounded up several local homeowners, experts, and community partners to share practical, actionable information in our Resilient Home Webinar Series.
What are the key features of a resilient home?
They produce energy and use it wisely.
They capture rainwater and manage stormwater effectively.
They’re built with structural reinforcements.
They’re more self-sufficient.
Structural reinforcements in resilient homes vary by region, depending on the types of extreme weather and natural disasters common to those areas. In Florida, a resilient home might be framed with steel rather than wood to withstand hurricanes, while retrofits for earthquakes and wildfires are common in California.
Solar-powered homes are climate-resilient when they’re outfitted with a battery that stores the sun’s energy, making those kilowatts available for use when the power goes out. In our first webinar, one homeowner talks through her decision to invest in a battery, while another chose to hold off. Both chose to go solar so their home would be more energy-efficient, and the resident who added a battery to the mix says it’s a comfort knowing that she’ll be able to use some of her solar energy to keep the lights and her home heated or cooled in an extended outage.
With every home that becomes more resilient, communities grow more prepared to face the harmful effects of climate change. Resilient homes also strike at the root of the problem, with lower carbon footprints.
EXTREME WEATHER By the Numbers
18 extreme weather events in the U.S. cost more than $1 billion in 2022 — a sixfold increase over 1980. In all, last year’s extreme weather cost $160.5 billion, close to the total cost of all extreme weather events from 1980 to 1988 combined.
What's a renter to do? The short answer, unfortunately, is not as much as homeowners— unless you have an amazing landlord committed to investing in the resource-efficiency and resilience of the properties they own. That doesn't mean there's nothing you can do to become a more climate-resilient renter. We'll address this important topic in a future post.