Making sure cities are resilient to a broad array of challenges has become a core concern for anyone involved in urban planning.
Hurricanes and flooding provided tangible examples of the dangers of extreme weather, but cities and towns also face diverse challenges ranging from aging infrastructure in need of repair to the everyday social vulnerability of the disadvantaged.
Energy concerns are also a vital component of the community resilience equation because energy literally powers our communities, making modern life possible. Energy efficiency is an ideal component of any resilience strategy because it aids emergency response and recovery, helps with climate change adaptation and mitigation, and provides social and economic benefits.
Take the example of energy-efficient buildings from the infographic below. If an emergency causes a power outage or heating fuel disruption, high-performance buildings can maintain their temperatures so residents may be able to shelter in place, as long as their structural integrity is maintained. This is particularly important for vulnerable populations sensitive to temperature changes, such as those with medical conditions or the elderly. Even when there is no emergency, buildings that are energy-efficient waste less energy, which generally translates to lower and less volatile energy bills. More stable billing means families and property managers can prepare better for the future, and it frees up monies that can be invested in other needs.
Energy-efficient buildings also use less power, which translates to fewer greenhouse gases emissions, an important consideration to many local policymakers attempting to mitigate climate change.
Good resilience planning uses cross-cutting solutions to address diverse community needs, helping residents prepare for the varied threats that may come their way. Energy efficiency can be a core strategy for not only tackling these threats but also creating more prosperous communities.