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Session Details

Low Carbon and Resilient Buildings: Lessons Learned and a Path Forward

22 September 2020

Webinar Format
Dialogue Session

Short Presentations, Extended Q & A

        Ilana Judah, The University of British Columbia. Integrated Building Adaptation & Mitigation            Assessment (IBAMA) Framework

        Carlos Molina Hutt. Seismic Risk in Tall Buildings

        Dale Mikkelsen, SFU Community Trust. Living Building Challenge

        Matt Strand, QuadReal Property Group. Climate Risk Management Steps for Portfolio



Explore the ins and outs of enhancing low-carbon resilience in both new and existing buildings in BC, including lessons learned from:

  • Implementing the Living Building/ Living Community Challenges at SFU 

  • Seismic retrofitting projects in San Francisco

  • A developer’s perspective on incorporating a business process for integrating climate change risk into global investment decisions

  • A variety of perspectives regarding how we fund/finance the transformative investments needed.

This session should appeal to anyone who has an interest in building resilience in Southwest BC: engineers, architects, planners, developers, builders, code officials, etc.. The building stock (both new and existing) represents a cornerstone of our society in that it houses people/provides sheltering space, is often a significant personal financial investment and source of equity, provides community gathering spaces such as schools, libraries and hospitals - that are critical to everyday life - and even more so when hazard events occur.


Enhancing our building stock, from the way we site, design, build and maintain it also represents a huge economic opportunity - just ask George! Accordingly, those with an interest in local economic development and building the green/restoration economy would also benefit from attending and contributing to this session. 

Discussion Questions

  1. Was the LBC as hard to implement /meet as people say? Was it really expensive? How did the land economics work in the context of SFU? 

  2. What do you see as the additional resilience benefits of having more passive buildings and neighbourhoods with their own water/wastewater and energy solutions? 

  3. How big of a problem are tall buildings given the seismic hazard here in Vancouver and south in San Fran? What are the opportunities to address this challenge and how have you worked on this/resolved potential barriers? 

  4. What are the most effective ways to combine seismic retrofits with other potential retrofit considerations (energy efficiency, extreme heat, flood resilience, etc.)? 

  5. How are developers, such as QUADreal, which is also in essence, a pension fund manager, taking into account climate and natural hazards risks in their portfolios? What are the differing considerations for new buildings vs. existing? 

  6. How do we pay for retrofitting/building better buildings? What is your vision for how the benefits of performance-based design can reach all members of society, and not just the companies or individuals that can afford higher lease rates or more expensive (better designed) homes? 


  • Moderated by: George Benson, Sector Manager for the Built Environment, Vancouver Economic Commission

  • Ilana Judah, AIA, OAQ, LEED AP BD+C, CPHD, Principal and Director of Sustainability at FXCollaborative architects in New York

  • Carlos Molina Hutt, Assistant Professor of Structural and Earthquake Engineering in the Civil Engineering Department at the University of British Columbia

  • Dale Mikkelsen, VP Development for the UniverCity Project at Simon Fraser University’s Burnaby Mountain campus

  • Tamsin Lyle, Principal and founding engineer of Ebbwater Consulting

  • Matt Strand, National Health and Safety Manager for QuadReal Property Group

  • Parliamentary Secretary for Gender Equity, Mitzi Dean - Speaker"
    Mitzi Dean was elected as MLA for Esquimalt-Metchosin in 2017, and was appointed the Parliamentary Secretary for Gender Equity in February 2018. Parliamentary Secretary Dean grew up in southeast England and has spent the last 30 years helping vulnerable people. Before moving to the Victoria area in 2005, Mitzi Dean served as a national development manager for children's services with the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, the U.K.'s largest child protection charity. Prior to that, she worked in child protection social work and community-based social services across Great Britain for more than 20 years. She also volunteered at a Romanian orphanage and a transition house in the U.K. providing refuge for women experiencing relationship violence. Most recently, she served as executive director of the Pacific Centre Family Services Association. PS Dean lives in Metchosin with her partner and daughter.
  • Robin Cox, Ph.D. Royal Roads University"
    Robin is the Program Head of the graduate programs in Climate Action Leadership at Royal Roads University (RRU) and a Professor in the Disaster and Emergency Management Master of Arts program. As Director of the ResilienceByDesign ILab (RbD) at RRU, Robin leads multiple action research and educational initiatives focused on resilience and enhancing the capacity of youth and adults to address the complex and intersecting challenges of climate adaptation and disaster risk reduction.
  • Emily Dicken, Ph.D. First Nations Health Authority"
    Dr. Emily Dicken has worked as a practitioner in the field of emergency management since 2006, spending the first twelve years of her career with the province of BC working in health emergency management and then for Emergency Management BC where she held the role of Director, First Nation Coordination. Emily is now the Director of Emergency Management at First Nations Health Authority. Beyond her work at FNHA, Emily pursues academic interests with a central focus on understanding colonialism as an unnatural and enduring disaster impacting Indigenous communities. When not working, Emily can be found enjoying time in the outdoors with her husband Jeff and their two young sons, Keegan and Bowen.
  • Jackie Yip, Ph.D. Natural Resources Canada"
    Jackie Yip is a Research Scientist within the Public Safety Geoscience Program at Natural Resources Canada, where she is leading research efforts in developing best practices and new methods for understanding flood risk and community resilience and recovery. Her research interest lies at the intersect of climate adaptation, disaster risk modelling, and decision-making, and specializes in predictive modelling and data-visualization.
  • Laurie Johnson, Ph.D. Laurie Johnson Consulting I Research"
    Laurie is an internationally-recognized urban planner specializing in disaster recovery and catastrophe risk management, and based in the San Francisco Bay Area. For over 30 years, she has combined her unique blend of professional practice and research to help communities address the complex urban challenges posed by natural hazards and disasters. Much of her post-disaster recovery efforts are captured in her recent book, After Great Disasters: An In-Depth Analysis of How Six Countries Managed Community Recovery (2017). She is President of the Earthquake Engineering Research Institute and on the Board of Directors of the Earthquakes and Megacities Initiative and the Advisory Board of the Global Earthquake Model (GEM). She was also inducted into the College of Fellows of the American Institute of Certified Planners (FAICP) in 2018. She holds a Doctorate in Informatics from Kyoto University, Japan, as well as a Master of Urban Planning and Bachelors of Science in Geophysics, both from Texas A&M University.
  • Sahar Safaie (Moderator). Sage On Earth Consulting
    Sahar Safaie is the founder and principal consultant of Sage on Earth Consulting Ltd., based in North Vancouver. The niche of her expertise and services is to enhance the use of disaster and climate risk information in designing resilience policies, investments and programs. She has more than fifteen years of diverse experiences in BC and internationally including at United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR), Global Earthquake Model, the World Bank, and Risk Management Solutions. Sahar has lead development of two of the Sendai Framework implementation guidelines on National Disaster Risk Assessment and National Disaster Risk Reduction Strategies.
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