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Improve Community Resilience

This graphic depicts an what an energy-resilient city or community looks like. It shows different ways that a city can incorporate resilience, using examples for schools, hospitals, grocery stores, community centers, residential buildings, office space, universities, and manufacturing plants.

Community resilience is defined by a community's ability to use available resources to respond to, withstand, and recover from adverse situations. Strengthening community resilience not only helps people, businesses, and cities maintain essential functions and bounce back from adversity but also move towards enhanced wellbeing. Explore resources for building resilient communities, below. 

Tools and Resources from Better Buildings

How Distributed Energy Resources Can Improve Resilience in Public Buildings: Three Case Studies and a Step-by-Step Guide
This document introduces readers to the benefits of integrating energy efficiency with other distributed energy resources to achieve resilience benefits. It describes two DOE tools that each provide high-level assessments of the size and potential cost of onsite energy systems that can power critical facilities, and presents case studies with completed analysis on potential energy investments at existing facilities managed by three partners in DOE’s Better Buildings Challenge.                                                               

The Guide for Distributed Generation (DG) Resilience Planning
Guidance Document
A guide for distributed generation planning that focuses on critical infrastructure, CHP, solar and energy storage, and microgrids. This is geared towards decision-makers such as policymakers and utilities, with a variety of helpful background resources.

Combined Heat and Power for Resiliency
Resource Hub
The Better Buildings CHP for Resiliency Accelerator worked to support and expand the consideration of CHP solutions to keep critical infrastructure operational every day and night regardless of external events. As a collaborative effort with states, communities, utilities, and other stakeholders, Partners examined the perceptions of CHP among resiliency planners, identified gaps in current technologies or information relative to resiliency needs, and developed plans for communities to capitalize on CHP’s strengths as a reliable, high-efficiency, lower-emissions electricity and heating/cooling source for critical infrastructure. This page is geared towards states, communities, utilities, and other stakeholders.

Partner Solutions and Case Studies                    

An Energy Roadmap for a Resilient, Vibrant, and Sustainable Community
The City of Rochester
Better Buildings Challenge partner Rochester, NY shares the various processes, outreach, and outcomes from their successful implementation of a community-wide resilience strategy. Other local governments can replicate these steps in their own municipalities.

Other Resources

CHP for Resiliency in Critical Infrastructure
DOE Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE)
This fact sheet provides an overview on using CHP to protect critical infrastructure, and how CHP can help create a more resilient and modern grid that keeps communities safe and protects businesses in the event of a large-scale power outage.

Guide to Expanding Mitigation: Making the Connection to Electric Power
Guidance Document
This resource is a helpful guide focused on building community “lifelines”, and highlights energy efficiency as a central mitigation strategy.

A Collaborative Approach to Multi-Jurisdictional Planning
National Renewable Energy Lab (NREL)
To mitigate hazards and risks, NREL's Resilience Roadmap offers comprehensive guidance for federal, state, and local entities to effectively convene at the regional level for adaptable and holistic planning. This multi-jurisdictional approach requires major cooperation across boundaries, considerable reliance on partnerships and multi-agency collaborations, and significant utilization of interdisciplinary teams. 

Community Resilience Toolkit
Making sure communities are resilient has become a core concern for anyone involved in urban planning. Hurricanes Katrina and Sandy are examples of extreme weather’s danger, but cities and towns also face diverse challenges ranging from aging infrastructure in need of repair to the everyday social vulnerability of the disadvantaged. Energy concerns are a vital component of the community resilience equation, because energy literally powers powering our communities, and making modern life possible. Energy efficiency is an ideal essential component of any resilience strategy because it aids emergency response and recovery, helps with climate change adaptation and mitigation, and provides social and economic benefits.

Recognize Climate Hazards, Protect Assets, and Build Resilience
The U.S. Climate Resilience Toolkit
The U.S. Climate Resilience Toolkit is a website designed to help people find and use tools, information, and subject matter expertise to build climate resilience. The Toolkit offers information from all across the U.S. federal government in one easy-to-use location. 

Climate Change Online Database and Networking Site
Adaptation Clearinghouse
Resource Hub
An online database and networking site that serves policymakers and others who are working to help communities adapt to a changing climate.

Community Resilience Planning Guide
National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)
The NIST Community Resilience Planning Guide for Buildings and Infrastructure Systems (Guide) provides a practical and flexible approach to help all communities improve their resilience by setting priorities and allocating resources to manage risks for their prevailing hazards. Using the Guide can help communities integrate consistent resilience goals into their comprehensive, economic development, zoning, mitigation, and other local planning activities that impact buildings, public utilities, and other infrastructure systems.

Resilient Cities - Global Case Studies
Resilient Cities Network
A philanthropic organization dedicated to helping cities around the world become more resilient to the physical, social, and economic challenges that are a growing part of the 21st century. Provide tools, publications, and other support related to city-level resilience.

Guide for Assessing Climate Change Risk 
Urban Land Institute
This paper offers an analytic framework that looks at types of risks, the types of assets that need protecting, and potential damages a city may face, resulting in a guide that can be used to set priorities for developing a resilience strategy and implementing projects. Whereas ULI’s Urban Resilience Program focuses on risks related to climate change, the general process outlined here can be used for any type of risk, whether related to climate change or not.

Set Goals, Inform Plans, and Develop Policies for Community Resilience
This paper deals with the interconnection of community resilience and various aspects of energy supply and consumption—what we call local energy resilience. We discuss nine dimensions of local energy resilience (for example, transportation connectivity and thermal performance of buildings) and provide indicators for each of them. Decision-makers can use these concepts to set goals, inform plans, and develop policies to increase the energy resilience of their communities. 

Explore the Efficiency-Resilience Nexus:

Learn about resilience Develop strategies for reducing natural disaster risk Design resilient buildings

Work with utilities on demand response Finance resilience projects To the Resilience Resource Navigator