An Approach for Seismic Sustainability of Building Enclosures

April 29, 2011
Publication: Building Enclosure Sustainability Symposium 2011, Integrating Design & Building Practices: Proceedings of the 2nd Symposium p 210-220
Author(s): James Parker Anders Carlson

Extreme events should be part of the life cycle cost decision making for sustainable design of the building envelope and other nonstructural components of buildings. Recently, concerns over population growth, depletion of the world’s natural resources and global warming have led to a renaissance in designing buildings and cities to be more sustainable. For seismic regions, a major problem with the current procedures is that they neglect the impact of seismic events on a building’s sustainability. In seismic regions like Los Angeles, you can expect a moderate earthquake during the lifetime of a building, if not an even larger event. Moderate earthquakes can require repairs or reconstruction that utilize additional materials and resources and generate waste of replaced portions. Downtime results in loss of building utilization and efficiency. With replacement costs from seismic damage potentially in the billions of dollars, the level of resources that have to be replaced calls into question how sustainable our building designs really are.