A framework for the co-benefits and trade- offs of resilience & sustainability certification programs

  • Homeira Mirhosseini
  • Kenner Carmody
  • Lisa D Iulo


Although concepts of resiliency and sustainability have long been tenets within the culture of design, their modern classification, measurement, and codification in the late 20th and early 21st century are fiercely debated. The need to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and mitigate the impacts of global climate change influence current debates around the ways in which to operationalize sustainability and resilience within the built environment. This debate contributes to the confounding relationship between the consensus of ‘sustainability’ (i.e. carbon reduction) and the myriad domains of ‘resilience’ for designers, which include ecosystems, cities, communities, and individual buildings. The clarity of this debate is further attenuated in the variety of outcomes it seeks, the timescales in which it operates, and the necessary tradeoffs inherent in the process. While sustainability is concerned with resource use and the “carrying capacity of the earth” (Moffatt 2014), increases in manmade and natural disasters have focused attention on how design professionals evaluate both building’s impact on the environment (sustainability) and the environment’s impact on building (resilience). This paper proposes a framework for describing the synergies and discords that occur between several ‘resilience’ and ‘sustainability’ building certification programs (BCP). The evolution of various concepts of resilience are briefly explored and used to later inform this framework. Several BCPs are cited within this framework. A matrix showing the relationships between multiple green building rating systems and resilience rating systems is used to incorporate the interpretations of resilience cited in this paper. This comparison includes the rating system origin, application, and range of implementation as it considers resilience scholarship. The table aims to identify the problems, objectives, and co-benefits of various green building rating criteria and resilience criteria. Comparing several rating systems, the gaps and overlapping objectives in each system are identified as they relate to ‘sustainability’ or ‘resiliency’ outcomes.

How to Cite
Mirhosseini, H., Carmody, K., & Iulo, L. (2019). A framework for the co-benefits and trade- offs of resilience & sustainability certification programs. ARCC Conference Repository, 1(1). Retrieved from https://www.arcc-repository.org/index.php/repository/article/view/670