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Resilient Retrofits Climate Upgrades for Existing Buildings promo image
Report Summary:

Resilient Retrofits: Climate Upgrades for Existing Buildings introduces real estate actors, designers, policymakers, and finance professionals to the opportunities and challenges of preparing existing buildings for accelerating physical climate risks, including extreme temperatures, floods, storms and high winds, seismic risks, water stress/drought, and wildfires.

The report includes the following:

  • The business case for resilient retrofits
  • A summary of several design strategies for each physical climate risk
  • A selection of public-sector policies influencing the retrofit context
  • An array of financing solutions applicable to retrofits

An untold number of buildings are at risk from a changing climate, but resilient retrofit techniques exist for nearly any building type and physical risk. As design knowledge, supportive policy, and financing tools come into greater alignment, resilient retrofits can become mainstream practice, enhancing building value and service life while delivering co-benefits for health and sustainability along the way.

The report’s key takeaways follow and are explored in further detail in the report. Social equity informs each key takeaway and should be prioritized throughout retrofit planning and implementation.

Design

  • Resilient retrofit strategies exist for every major hazard, and owners should plan comprehensively for multiple hazards
  • Resilient retrofits should address both adaptation and mitigation
  • Resilient retrofit planning should be comprehensive, but implementation can be incremental

Policy

  • Resilient retrofit regulations/processes for buildings are still an emerging strategy for portfolios and citywide policy
  • Resilient retrofits present significant policy challenges
  • Community engagement is key to successful implementation

Finance

  • Resilient retrofits are a potentially transformative economic opportunity
  • Resilient retrofits have a strong potential business case, which can be enhanced further by policy and market changes

Resilient retrofits are a complex process for small and large property owners alike, and the real estate sector and local governments are still in the initial stages of grappling with the scale of need and organization required to encourage private-sector action.

Nonetheless, existing retrofit programs and project profiles provide lessons learned to get started. Retrofit design techniques are well understood, market interest in resilient buildings is growing, and new financing vehicles are expanding to meet demand—especially if owners can successfully link investments in energy efficiency with building hardening. The main questions are how to align these factors sufficiently to achieve rapid uptake in response to accelerating climate risk, and how to do so equitably across social and economic lines to ensure that the process leaves no stakeholder behind.

In the coming years, the real estate sector can expect resilient retrofits to become mainstream practice: there is simply no other way to ensure that the investments held in existing buildings are protected long term. There is no need to wait; the sooner owners, designers, policymakers, and finance professionals act to safeguard occupants and enhance value, the greater the opportunity.

Report Summary: Resilient Retrofits: Climate Upgrades for Existing Buildings introduces real estate actors, designers, policymakers, and finance professionals to the opportunities and challenges of preparing existing buildings for accelerating physical climate risks, including extreme temperatures, floods, storms and high winds, seismic risks, water stress/drought, and wildfires.

The report includes the following:

  • The business case for resilient retrofits
  • A summary of several design strategies for each physical climate risk
  • A selection of public-sector policies influencing the retrofit context
  • An array of financing solutions applicable to retrofits

An untold number of buildings are at risk from a changing climate, but resilient retrofit techniques exist for nearly any building type and physical risk. As design knowledge, supportive policy, and financing tools come into greater alignment, resilient retrofits can become mainstream practice, enhancing building value and service life while delivering co-benefits for health and sustainability along the way.

The report’s key takeaways follow and are explored in further detail in the report. Social equity informs each key takeaway and should be prioritized throughout retrofit planning and implementation.

Design

  • Resilient retrofit strategies exist for every major hazard, and owners should plan comprehensively for multiple hazards
  • Resilient retrofits should address both adaptation and mitigation
  • Resilient retrofit planning should be comprehensive, but implementation can be incremental

Policy

  • Resilient retrofit regulations/processes for buildings are still an emerging strategy for portfolios and citywide policy
  • Resilient retrofits present significant policy challenges
  • Community engagement is key to successful implementation

Finance

  • Resilient retrofits are a potentially transformative economic opportunity
  • Resilient retrofits have a strong potential business case, which can be enhanced further by policy and market changes

Resilient retrofits are a complex process for small and large property owners alike, and the real estate sector and local governments are still in the initial stages of grappling with the scale of need and organization required to encourage private-sector action.

Nonetheless, existing retrofit programs and project profiles provide lessons learned to get started. Retrofit design techniques are well understood, market interest in resilient buildings is growing, and new financing vehicles are expanding to meet demand—especially if owners can successfully link investments in energy efficiency with building hardening. The main questions are how to align these factors sufficiently to achieve rapid uptake in response to accelerating climate risk, and how to do so equitably across social and economic lines to ensure that the process leaves no stakeholder behind.

In the coming years, the real estate sector can expect resilient retrofits to become mainstream practice: there is simply no other way to ensure that the investments held in existing buildings are protected long term. There is no need to wait; the sooner owners, designers, policymakers, and finance professionals act to safeguard occupants and enhance value, the greater the opportunity.

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Featured Content Pillars

  • Housing and Communites
  • Real Estate Finance and Investment
  • Shaping Successful Cities and Regions
  • Sustainability and Economic Performance
  • Innovation in Development Practice