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Let’s Talk About Resilient Design

Posted by Marion McKnight on March 2, 2017

Resilient Design Whether you manage your own facility or work for others as a roofer or builder, you have seen the term “resilient design” somewhere. Resilience is the new black when it comes to sustainability. As the climate patterns shift, the need for resilient architecture becomes even more pronounced. Modern building design relies heavily on this concept and The Resilient Design Institute is at the forefront of its advocacy. What is resilience, though, and what is its role in roofing?

What is Resilience?

Put simply, resilience is about adaptation. The world is changing and superstorms like Hurricane Sandy are becoming the norm. The shift in weather patterns and other environmental disturbances are changing the building industry, as well. Structures of all sizes – warehouses, office buildings and homes – and the infrastructures around them must able to adapt to these shifts.

Resilience is about adapting to both local and regional changes in respect to things like the warming planet. Through resilient design, builders and roofers create entire communities able to withstand vulnerabilities brought on by high winds, flooding and other extreme weather occurrences.

What is the Resilient Design Institute?

The Resilient Design Institute (RDI) is a pioneer is an adaptive design. RDI examines communities and helps create strategies to develop buildings able to endure and even continue to thrive despite natural stressors like climate change and superstorms. Their goal is to create sustainable systems that adapt to these changes when necessary.

Resilient design is about finding environmental, social and economic balance in a world that keeps evolving. The Resilient Design Institute is setting the industry standards globally for the development of adaptive built environments.

What Role does Roofing play in Resilient Design?

Roofing strategies are an intricate part of the resilient design process. The Resilient Design Institute identifies nine key strategies that apply in some way to the roofing industry.

Practical, Sustainable Materials

Roofers need to make smart choices for building materials to create roofs with longer shelf lives and able to withstand extreme weather anomalies. Factors to consider include tensile strength, hail rating, UV aging and heat endurance.

Redundancies in Design

Specifically, focus on wider seams, greater flashing heights and multiple flashings to add redundancy to the roof design for better reinforcement.

Wind Resistance

It goes without saying that modern roof design must be able to handle strong wind surges. Pay special attention to roof edges and other forms of attachments. Your wind design ratings should exceed the current requirements.

Fire Resistance

Wildfires are becoming more common, so develop roofing solutions in high-risk areas to protect buildings. Enhanced membrane systems, stone ballast and concrete pavers are efficient when it comes to blowing embers.

Energy Savings

This includes energy production such as cool roof designs and green roofs


The use of skylights and solar tubes to improve natural lighting and provide light if there is an interruption in energy

Provide renewable energy

Rooftop energy is a real thing with PV solar systems that storage energy

Rainwater capture

In order to supply wastewater to use for gardening or cisterns and as a form of conservation


The roof is often a refuge in an emergency. Designs should include things like safe ladders and hatches to help prevent falls

A brilliant resilient design isn’t just about surviving the next superstorm. It fosters communities and entire cities able to thrive even as the world continues to change.

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Topics: Roof Architecture

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