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Resilient Design News For You
Newsletter Volume 4 No. 4 - December 2021
Greetings, Resilience Ally!

What are you celebrating about 2021?

Here at USRC, we're celebrating progress. Even during challenging times, the Resilient Design community is getting things done. USRC members should be proud of the certified rated buildings, partnerships, coalition-building, and educational reach you've helped us achieve, several of which are highlighted below. Read USRC Board Chair Ron Mayes' new blog post where he shares his continued excitement for where USRC is headed.

One of our most important long-term strategic efforts in 2021 was advancing development of a new USRC rating system for wind. In this newsletter, you'll meet two experts central to that process: Dr. Teng Wu of New York State University at Buffalo, and Mark Chatten of RWDI. Keep an eye out in 2022 for exciting announcements and new involvement opportunities for USRC's WIND rating system.

Finally, before you jump ahead into new resolutions and new annual goals, we hope you take a moment to savor your own recent wins and rest up by sharing time with loved ones.

From both of us, thank you for reading and have a safe and joyful holiday season!

Evan Reis, SE
USRC Executive Director and Co-Founder
Sharyl Rabinovici, PhD
USRC Director of Strategic Communication
Newly Available from USRC's Industry Partner Committee! 
For your clients, collaborators, and communities: five illuminating brochures showcasing how each company contributes to resilient design and why they support USRC.
Rating System Spotlight
Coming in 2022: USRC-WIND

USRC believes that building performance rating systems are a vital tool for enabling and accelerating the changes in construction and financial practices that the world needs now, to better protect ourselves from earthquakes and other natural hazard risks.
Experts on USRC's WIND Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) have convened throughout 2021 to synthesize the best technical science for measuring the performance of structures in extreme wind. Their goal is to launch a quantitative yet easily communicated rating system for hurricane and other straight-line wind risks as well as storm surge. Here are some highlights from a recent conversation with two WIND-TAC members about their experiences so far doing this groundbreaking work.

How USRC-WIND Will Benefit Design Experts, Their Clients, and Society
Dr. Teng Wu of New York State University at Buffalo is one of the researchers on the committee. Dr. Wu says the process of creating a wind rating system is helping the wind engineering community’s attitudes catch up with the leadership earthquake engineers have shown on performance-based design. He also sees value in how the rating system will attract attention to wind’s outsized disaster impacts and catalyze change in construction practices and codes.

As Principal and Vice President for Strategic Initiatives at RWDI, Mark Chatten sees natural hazard resilience as dovetailing closely with sustainability. “Many end-clients like owners are aware of the issues but struggle to articulate their goals into something that an engineer can help them achieve. A rating system that converts the sometimes complex problems and solutions of wind risk into everyday language, like LEED did for energy and the environment, will be hugely powerful.”
Considering that the United States experienced 18 "billion-dollar plus" disasters in 2021, with total damage estimated at over $100 billion, systemic change is something we really need. Over 3/4 of that total was related to storms, most notably Hurricane Ida. 
USRC as Convener and Catalyst

Regarding USRC’s approach to convening experts to create a rating system, Mr. Chatten said, “I’ve been impressed with all the experts USRC has brought together as volunteers. It’s a top tier team and things will be really thought through.” Dr. Wu echoed that sentiment: “I feel well led by Evan Reis [USRC’s Executive Director] who’s been through the process before. Someone at the center has to understand everything and drive the process forward. Some in the wind community are rather new to resilience, but we have to apply the research efficiently to practice if we want to make a big impact in reality. This committee was able to progress towards a usable system really fast, even though it’s strongly rooted in science.”

Next on the Horizon

Dr. Wu sees conducting case studies as a key next step for USRC-WIND to validate the system, show how to use it, and calculate the value it produces for specific buildings, owners, users, and communities. Mr. Chatten emphasized broadening out to educate owners, identify key influencers, and involve passionate change agents in this arena who can help drive system adoption, especially architects. “Wind is about the integrity of the whole building. There’s so many elements to that, and the architect has a huge role.”

Keep an eye out for exciting announcements and new involvement opportunities for USRC-WIND in the new year!
FUNDING -- Oregon announces another round of its Seismic Rehabilitation Grant Program for schools ($55m) and emergency services ($25m). Application deadline is February 22, 2022. Oregon's legislature has been steadily funding this work to improve seismic resilience, following the recommendations of the Oregon Resilience Plan. Note: the State of Oregon has adopted USRC's Earthquake Rating System as an approved criteria for meeting resilience goals for public buildings.
PROPOSE A SESSION - The Natural Hazards Center at Univ. Colorado-Boulder is accepting session ideas for their July 10-13, 2022 Natural Hazards Workshop. The theme for this annual gathering of the nation's top hazard resilience researchers and practitioners is Changing Climates: Equity and Adaptation in a Warming World. Visit their Workshop Submissions Page for more information but don't delay. The deadline for proposals is January 10, 2022.
Read the USRC Blog
By Ron Mayes, PhD (USRC Co-Founder and Board Chair)

By Sharyl Rabinovici, PhD (USRC Director of Strategic Communications)

By Johanna Cunningham (USRC Board Member 2015-present)
Resilient Design Education
Year-Long Webinar and Video Series Wraps Up
From October 2020 till now, USRC teamed up with series sponsor Optimum Seismic to produce 1080+ minutes of free, on-demand educational programming to get the word out to more audiences about the benefits of resilient design and empower design professionals with compellingly-portrayed case studies.

Over 100 people attended the 12th virtual event in the series on November 17th, bringing our total "live" reach over the year to over 2000 viewers, and double that since on Youtube.

And with your help, the outreach impact won't stop there. Please LIKE, RETWEET, and SHARE the series videos and webinar recordings, and stayed tuned for the launch of The Resilience Advantage podcast in 2022!

Co-Founder and COO of Optimum Seismic Ali Sahabi funded the series as a public service and published the appreciation ad below ↓↓↓ in the LA Times to recognize all the sponsors, partners, speakers, interviewees, and creative and marketing team members that made it possible. USRC adds its sincere thanks to this group as well.
Join The Movement
The USRC improves community resilience by establishing and implementing credible and consistent rating systems that measure expected building performance in natural hazard events.

We also certify expert structural engineers as USRC Rating Professionals and inform broad audiences on the societal importance of building performance and cost-effective opportunities to improve it.
Case studies of USRC-rated structures, information on how to become a certified USRC Rater, and how to inquire about rating a building rating are available at www.USRC.org.