Building Climate Resilience: Green Innovations in Infrastructure and Design

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Author – Sam Bowman

Stopping climate change entirely is not a viable option now since its effects are already evident. Instead as a society, we need to focus on taking steps to be more resilient in the face of difficult change. Embracing green innovations in infrastructure and design is key to this.

There are examples of how entire cities are making their infrastructure more resilient. What about individual businesses, though? Each company is a vulnerable entity that is looking headlong into the potential damage and disruption climate change could cause. So, let’s explore some of the steps entrepreneurs can take to safeguard their companies with innovative infrastructure and design adjustments.

Risk Assessments

Before exploring innovations and solutions, it’s important to get a good understanding of your business’s climate risk profile. This allows you to make the most relevant adjustments. After all, climate change is an emerging business continuity risk in multiple ways. Extremes of weather are particularly notable disruptors. Cyclones, wildfires, and floods have all led to economic consequences in recent years and are likely to continue to do so.

Therefore, it is vital to start by assessing what the plausible events are in your part of the world. Even if they’ve never happened before, you need to collect data on the challenges that could arise in the foreseeable future. From here you can start to model the likely disruptive impact of risks. Work with department managers and other staff to formulate scenarios. This involves acting out climate-related disaster events to better understand where the gaps are in preparedness and how to ensure business continuity.

There are innovative tools you can use to help you better assess climate risk. Artificial intelligence based software for analyzing and predicting disruption has become more accessible in recent years. Today, there are specific tools for climate risk analysis for specific industries, like Project Gaia in the financial sector. Embracing these tools, alongside physical assessments can help identify issues and select the most relevant solutions.

Green Innovations in Infrastructure

The building your business occupies is an important resource and that is something climate change has the potential to threaten. From excesses of temperature affecting people’s comfort and the integrity of inventory, to storms causing severe damage.

It’s important to consider design innovations that make buildings more resilient. Many of these have their roots in traditional construction concepts from across the globe and are geared toward addressing specific climate challenges. They include:

  • Trombe walls: In areas where temperatures are likely to get colder, Trombe walls can help retain heat naturally. Brick, stone, or concrete is layered behind glass panels. The sun passes through the glass, heating the masonry behind it, and keeping the building warm.
  • Evaporative cooling: In locations where temperatures are set to get higher, a more climate-resilient approach would be to install evaporative cooling in your building. These are wet pads that evaporate the moisture when warm air passes over them and move the heat away from the property. In most systems, the resulting cooler air is channeled into the building.
  • Hipped roofs: Hipped roofs are one of the design innovations that protect buildings from damage caused by storms. Effectively, these are roofs in which every side is angled downward in a gentle slope toward the walls. The lack of sided ends means it’s more difficult for strong winds to catch the edges and cause damage.

Strengthening Infrastructure

Being able to keep your business running smoothly on a day-to-day basis is reliant on good infrastructure. This incorporates everything from electricity to power your tech to supply chains that provide you with goods and resources. Climate change has the power to impact these aspects, so it’s essential to bolster your infrastructure in preparation.

Apart from resilience against climate damage your business should consider robust security design for your buildings. This might include adopting biometric access technology for doors and investing in stronger windows, such as triple glazing.

Further, it’s important to set up backups for your internet network systems to keep you operating when climate-related issues occur. For instance, there are infrastructural innovations in the form of satellite-based internet providers, like Starlink. You can arrange to switch to this resource when a disaster disrupts your cable broadband connections.

Remember, that human capital is considered to be soft infrastructure. It’s worth finding innovative ways to make your employees a key part of your climate resilience. This may involve providing eLearning on in-person courses to give them the skills to identify and manage climate-related risks to your organization. It could also factor into your recruitment process. Seek employees that have qualifications or experiences in sustainable skills that can not just directly improve your business resilience, but also influence colleagues with their insights.

Conclusion

To be more climate resilient, it’s important to make adjustments to your business early on. Once you’ve identified specific areas of risk, you can adopt innovative design features and strengthen your underlying infrastructure. Remember, though, that just as the climate is changing, so are the technological advances and green innovations in infrastructure.

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