A nine-foot storm surge fueled by 70-mile-per-hour winds engulfed the East Coast. Sections of New York City, the epicenter of the nation’s financial industry, disappeared underwater, creating a picture that looked eerily similar to predictions made five years ago of future global warming. The total price tag for Sandy could be $100 billion.
Life after Sandy: Green Building and Rebuilding
In general, the current guidelines for green buildings specified by the USGBC’s LEED rating system (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) double as disaster prevention measures that we should incorporate in rebuilding efforts. Green buildings that generate their own clean energy with solar panels or wind turbines, process their own waste and water, and even produce food on-site would have provided great shelter during Hurricane Sandy with minimal disruption to normal life. Instead of having millions of people dependent on the same central energy, food and water delivery systems that fail outright during a crisis, each building, block or locality could provide these necessities, which would keep more people and businesses functioning.
The energy and materials savings over the lifetime of the building were found to be 20% of conventional costs. So implementing green building on a large scale with creative upfront financing would yield more than ten times the initial investment over the lifecycle of the building.
Jessica Kraft, Post on Learnvest November 9th, 2012