Sunday, June 17, 2018

Boston Has New Rules to Help Buildings Withstand Climate Change

A parking lot on Long Wharf was one of many stretches of downtown Boston that flooded during a storm in January. (Credit: Lane Turner/Globe Staff) Click to Enlarge.
Memories of the storm last winter that flooded parts of downtown Boston are still fresh at City Hall.  Now, the Walsh administration is pushing developers to make their buildings better able to withstand another watery apocalypse.

The Boston Planning & Development Agency on Thursday approved new rules to make big buildings more resilient to the effects of climate change.  City officials hope the measures will help minimize flooding, keep the lights on in more buildings during power outages, and make it easier to upgrade street lights and other public works.

“We think we’ve identified a way forward that appears to be the first of its kind in the nation,” said Brian Golden, the agency’s director.

The rules are initially being tested for a two-year period and differ for projects based on size.  For the largest developments — at least 1.5 million square feet — developers will need to assess installing an on-site power plant, and build one if it’s financially feasible.  They will also have to consolidate all wiring for cable, Internet, and other telecom services into one underground tube, so there is less disruption to streets and sidewalks during repairs.

Any new development above 100,000 square feet will have to retain more rainfall than currently required, to help prevent runoff during storms from contributing to floods in the surrounding area.  In 2017, the planning agency received applications for 39 projects over 100,000 square feet.

Read more at Boston Has New Rules to Help Buildings Withstand Climate Change

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