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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

About Contributors


Ms. Judah is a graduate student at UBC’s Institute for Resources, Environment and Sustainability. An architect for over 20 years, she was most recently a Principal and Director of Sustainability at FXCollaborative architects in New York. Ms. Judah has served on several task forces to address climate mitigation and adaptation in buildings. An industry leader, she has taught at Cornell, Columbia, NYU, and University of Pennsylvania. Her research involves developing an integrated building adaptation and mitigation assessment (IBAMA) framework to help policymakers and building professionals identify solutions that simultaneously address climate change adaptation and mitigation for multifamily buildings and their neighborhoods.

Carlos Molina Hutt, Assistant Prof., Structural and Earthquake Engineering, UBC

Dr. Carlos Molina Hutt is an Assistant Professor of Structural and Earthquake Engineering in the Civil Engineering Department at the University of British Columbia (UBC). The work of his research group at UBC focuses on the development of methodological approaches to assess seismic risk in buildings and its implications on urban resilience, and on the translation of this knowledge into tools and information for use by practicing engineers, seismic planners, and policymakers.

Dale Mikkelsen, VP, Development, SFU Community Trust

Dale is the VP, Development for the UniverCity Project at Simon Fraser University’s Burnaby Mountain campus. The UniverCity community is being developed around “Four Cornerstones of Sustainability”, including Environment, Equity, Education, and Economy. Mikkelsen and the Trust’s team are making significant and innovative contributions toward the demonstration of innovative and incremental standards that result in a highly livable and low carbon community. Mikkelsen is charged with raising the bar of sustainable community planning to ensure UniverCity remains on the leading edge of energy efficiency, material conservation, healthy environments and community building.

Tamsin Lyle, Principal Engineer, Ebbwater Consulting

Tasmin Lyle is the Principal and founding engineer of Ebbwater Consulting and a well-known thought leader on flood management having invested her academic and professional careers in the exploration of various aspects of this field. She is an advocate for risk-based disaster planning and is particularly interested in reducing the vulnerability and susceptibility of our built environment to flood waters.

Matt Strand, Development, QUADReal

Matt Strand is supporting the development of QUADReal’s climate change adaptation strategy. Current work includes developing a framework to incorporate climate change impacts on property acquisition and divestment, and the development of a model to assist property teams in deciding upon building modifications through the lens of climate change impacts.

George Benson- Moderator

George Benson is the Sector Manager for the Built Environment at the Vancouver Economic Commission. An urban planner by training, he brings together a knowledge of business, urban policymaking, and sustainability to work with local and global businesses to help decarbonize and make Vancouver’s economy more resilient.