Gimme shelter: how energy efficiency can contribute to resilient rebuilding

Read the full story from ACEEE.

The Atlantic hurricane season is just beginning, and experts are predicting another active year. With that forecast and last year’s devastating storms in mind, many are calling for a rebuildingstrategy that reduces the risk of repeated devastation by building more resilient communities. Energy efficiency should be a central component of that strategy. Its technologies and practices can make our electric grids and built environment more resilient during extreme weather events.

Congress has a chance to get this right. The US House of Representatives has already passed key provisions of a relevant bill, the Disaster Recovery Reform Act, with a bipartisan vote on a broader bill necessary to extend the Federal Aviation Administration’s authority. The bill, now under consideration in the Senate, would amend the Stafford Act to allow cost-effective pre-disaster risk mitigation and rebuilding using the latest “hazard-resistant designs” and building codes.

As this bill and others are considered, energy-efficient technologies should be recognized as elements of hazard-resistant design and more broadly as an essential component of resilient infrastructure. Here are some approaches that work.

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