For more information, see resilientdesign.org factories, chemical storage facilities) near my home?
What degree of resilience do I think is important?
How many days of water independency are important?
How many days of electrical independency are important?
How many days of heating independency are important?
How many days of food independency are important?
Are the sources for repairs and replacement of building components local/accessible?
Can you fix the major structural and mechanical components you are choosing?
Can you operate systems without outside power and assistance?
Are systems able to be modified without imported parts and expertise?
Making Good Choices
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Predicting needs for resilience is, by definition, difficult to do. Setting definitive goals is the best way to make decisions. Take into account the predictions made by reputable sources, especially regional emergency preparedness and disaster relief organizations whose own plans will tend to be thorough examinations of the likely scenarios. At the very least, resilience goals can be in line with official expectations and based on the severity and duration of past events.
Climate change presents a degree of uncertainty for any resilience planning. Changes in weather patterns can create conditions that are not reflected by past events, both in terms of storms and short-term weather events as well as long-term changes to environmental parameters. The future needs for heating and cooling, water, and food are examples of issues with major effects on a home that are difficult to assess.
Fortunately, adhering to best building practices is a good place to start: high levels of insulation, solid foundations and roofs, quality windows, and minimum needs for energy inputs all contribute importantly to future resilience.
Often, resilience and durability are considered to be one and the same. However, there is an important distinction: durable materials and systems may last a long time, but resilient materials and systems are easily repaired, replaced, or modified. One may consider a furnace with a 50-year warranty to be durable, but if the expertise and parts required to fix it are not readily accessible, it does not contribute to resilience. Remember that situations that require resilience are the times when people and parts are least likely to be available, so resilience planning requires that local materials and expertise be able to solve issues and maintain functionality.