On August 15th, USGBC NJ Vice Chair Wayne DeFeo, on behalf of our Advocacy Committee, attended a joint New Jersey Senate/Assembly committee meeting in Atlantic City.
As a result of our ongoing advocacy work, USGBC NJ was able to present testimony to this body of legislators to illustrate that sustainable buildings (LEED®, in specific) are more resilient- specifically in relation to storms such as Hurricane Sandy.
Our testimony helped to show that LEED is flexible enough to apply to all project types including healthcare facilities, schools, homes, and even entire neighborhoods. LEED addresses resiliency in a number of ways, including: sustainable site credits; smart location and linkage credits; green infrastructure and buildings credits; and for Homes- location and linkage credits. We also profiled a sampling of NJ case studies demonstrating how LEED certified buildings fared in the onslaught of Hurricane Sandy.
The Center for Lifelong Learning, a LEED Platinum public school in Sayerville, had no structural damage or flooding, despite the heavy winds and pummeling rain. The LEED Gold Jersey Shore University Medical Center managed to keep their facility powered completely, regardless of the local power outage, by switching over to their co-gen center and a small handful of generators. A LEED Silver private home in Toms River came through with none of the wind damage or flooding experienced by some in the neighborhood, due to its LEED-based durability measures. In fact, even though the house had no electricity for days, a number of sustainable design features allowed it to maintain comfortable temperatures and sufficient natural light. In addition, a school in Bayonne served as an emergency evacuation center when the rest of the town lost power. The otherwise average school had been equipped with a unique solar power system designed to work in conjunction with a diesel generator in the event of a power failure.
These are just a handful of examples of how green features can improve the resiliency of public and private buildings and help safeguard these buildings and their inhabitants in the event of extreme storms.
Also, please see this blog post on Enviro Politics from Saturday, the 17th. It includes a 3 minute video interview with “Wayne DeFeo on LEED-certified structures and Hurricane Sandy”. The interview is following the testimony on the 15th: New Jersey environmentalists on what Sandy taught us.