Construction industry brainstorms on how to adapt to climate change
SAINT JOHN -- It's anything but business as usual for some industries in Atlantic Canada as a changing climate pushes them to make changes of their own.
This week, hundreds from the construction sector are in Saint John discussing how to deal with climate change.
The historic springtime flooding of the St. John River has meant headaches and heartache for homeowners these last two years, but now the New Brunswick building industry is looking at how it can change in the face of a changing climate.
"We're innovators, right, we are responsible for designing and building pretty much everything you touch as a public citizen," said Nadine Fullarton of the Construction Association of New Brunswick.
With that in mind, nearly 200 construction professionals, architects, engineers and government officials gathered in Saint John for the 2019 industry forum.
On the agenda this year, a conversation about climate change, adaptation, and community readiness.
"Our temperatures are rising, we're getting more precipitation, it's getting hotter and we have to deal with rising sea levels," said Christy Cunningham, with the Association of Consulting Engineering Companies New Brunswick. "So, as architects, engineers and builders, we need to always be incorporating the latest climate science into our designs."
Cunningham says builders used to look at historical weather data to inform their plans, but that has changed.
"Historical data is no longer an indicator of the future climate," Cunningham said.
The conversation isn't just around how to adapt to the changing climate, but also how it could help. Fullerton says they're seeing a rising demand for more net-zero construction using as much renewable energy as it creates.
"It's also a matter of working with our owners and clients too to educate them on what are some of the opportunities when it comes to climate change mitigation and energy savings when it comes to our buildings," said Fullarton.
They say it's important for the construction industry to take the time to think about where they fit in in the face of a changing climate.