Stemming the Tide – Sustainable Building Against Climate Change
Sustainable building is the key to ensuring that America’s cities are prepared for the future. In an article on the top climate change news of 2016, The New York Times stated that this year was following the trends of previous years. The world was getting warmer and not much was being done at government level to stop it. The paper notes that while many lawmakers in Congress are in denial, the effects are starting to be felt in cities like Miami where the rising sea level is causing severe flooding.
How the government and building developers react to what is happening in Miami is going to be key in how the US fights climate change. Every year Design Miami brings together the most innovative designers to discuss the future of architecture and building. Speaking to architecture and design site Dezeen, Design Miami chief creative officer Rodman Primack said “a lot of people have been trying to hide their heads in the sand and that sand is actually eroding.” Primack told Dezeen that the sand on the famous Miami Beach needs to be regularly replaced up as the sea is washing it way.
The rising sea levels and eroding sands will create numerous problems including a knock on effect on tourism. According to real estate experts Discover Homes Miami, 9.2 million people visited the city in 2015 making it one of the world’s most popular destinations. The tourist trade in Miami is a significant contributor to the city’s economic success and this means it is important for the local government to act swiftly.
Steps are being made in the right direction to safe guard the city’s future and make Miami sustainable. The Monad Terrance in South Beach will be the first apartment block that is built, according to the new city building codes. The new codes required buildings to be built six to seven feet above the ground to protect residents against flooding.
This December, Proud Green Building reports that the Florida Green Building Coalition certified the recently developed Melody Tower in Miami as sustainable. The site informs that the certification “represents achievements in categories such as water conservation, indoor air quality, durability, energy efficiency, site preservation, materials and disaster migration.” It is these steps that will not only save Miami but lead the way for other cities and governments to follow suit.
The whole world is looking at Miami as Climate Change News writes that New York, Mumbai and Shanghai are likely to be threatened by rising sea levels. The climate site points to research that believes that sea levels in New York could be 60 centimeters higher by 2100. Shouldering the cost of adapting mega cities to deal with climate change effects is a huge yet imperative step.
It is not just rising sea levels that cities will have to deal with. Phoenix, Arizona is being affected by the opposite changes: not enough water. Grist.org reports that the city has been getting hotter since 1961 and has had 33 days over 110. That temperature makes workable air-con a life or death situation. According to the site, the city draws its power from a grid that is powered by dams on the Colorado River. The Colorado River has been steadily shrinking due to increased temperatures not only putting the environment at risk but also the city’s power supply. As the temperature increases cities like Phoenix will need to create new sustainable buildings to find new ways to conserve power and protect its citizens from the heat.
The question of whether climate change can be stemmed will be answered with sustainable building. Countries need to be tackling the issue head on in the same way that Miami is with its sustainable developments.