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Q&A with AMLI’s Erin Hatcher about Climate Risk

Erin Hatcher
June 2019

AMLI Residential’s Vice President-Sustainability spoke recently about climate risk assessments.

Has AMLI performed these assessments?

AMLI includes some resilience scope as part of our property conditions assessment and we are exploring ways to expand.

What does it entail?

Some assessment topics are universal and include building elements that relate to quality and longevity, such as building envelope conditions. But a true climate risk assessment explores climate threats specific to the site and region, assesses site vulnerability to those threats and investigates options to respond to the risks identified.

What is measured?

Potential hazards and stressors are site- or region- specific, but could include drought, wildfires, flooding, heat waves, rising sea level and social concerns within a community.

How valuable is it in the minds of investors?

Questions and discussions on property resilience continue to grow. AMLI believes we’ll continue to hear questions from the most thoughtful investors.

Are there standards?

Guidelines are available. The U.S. Climate Resilience Toolkit managed by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is the resource we see most commonly referenced and utilize internally. For new construction, there is a certification called RELi which aims to design buildings to be adaptive and shock resistant.

Have you bought or sold real estate based solely on this assessment?

No, and I’m not sure that’s how we should think about these assessments. Real estate should assess all risks, and this is another important factor.

Are there U.S. markets where climate risk is most concerning?

No areas are completely immune, but clearly some regions have prominent risks. For instance, inland cities aren’t concerned with a rise in sea level, but they may experience more extreme weather conditions. This could be particularly tough in mild regions where buildings or cities are not designed to accommodate such weather.

What can owners do to help mitigate risks (other than sell the property)?

Every site will have different considerations. The best way to mitigate these risks is by taking a first step and becoming aware of them.