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Climate Change is Impacting Project Designs

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(Photo credit: iStock.com/Chinnapong)

There’s an old saying that goes, “They don’t make them like they used to.” In the case of construction, that is quite true, since builders have had to change the way they construct their projects to avoid negative impacts on the environment. But they also have had to be designed differently, as well.

In a recent article in Interesting Engineering, civil engineer Trevor English looked at how structures are being designed differently due to the impacts of global warming. One element that engineers have to consider now is how temperature changes can result in increased corrosion and lowered strength, as well as material degradation. “As climate change takes place in many regions, the initial assumptions and design traits that engineers created the structures around are becoming invalid, and the structures cannot handle this,” English says.

One way that engineers are coping, he says, is by creating designs that fall into the category of green building. These are focused on lowering the effects that the industry and structures have in furthering climate change. “This means using things like well-sourced materials, utilizing passive ventilation and laying out the structure in a way that the environmental conditions can aid in the heating and cooling of the internal structure,” he adds.

Engineers also have to look at whether or not the chosen project areas can be considered economically feasible. For example, he notes, flood plains are not viable even though they may seem that way since they are dry most of the time. “However, when cities do expand into these flood plains, catastrophic disaster to housing and businesses simply becomes a when, rather than an if,” he says.

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