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John Bunzick, CCS, CCCA, LEED AP
Senior Member
Username: bunzick

Post Number: 1543
Registered: 03-2002
Posted on Monday, November 18, 2013 - 03:45 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

I heard a story on NPR about Key West's efforts to prepare for rising sea level. (http://www.npr.org/2013/11/12/241350517/key-west-awash-with-plans-for-rising-sea-level) I have spent many years visiting Key West in the winter, so I know the island well and the story interested me. In it, reference is made to "green building codes," which Key West's website makes only casual reference to as a state code. I know some of you practice in Florida - what has the state, or Monroe County, adopted in the way of a green code?
Alan Smithee (Unregistered Guest)
Unregistered guest
Posted on Monday, November 18, 2013 - 04:33 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

I suspect it's mostly another example of "journalist using poorly-understood buzzword".

(Things like rainwater cisterns, and using rainwater for things other than cooking and drinking are certainly "green"...)

I don't know about building codes in south Florida, but I had to chuckle at the Key West planning director's glib assertion that "if the Dutch can adapt... we can adapt". (Oh, dear. The Dutch have water on one side, and high ground to fall back to if the dikes fail. Key West has water on all sides and no high ground.)

Plus, are the residents of south Florida ready to pay Dutch-level taxes for their Dutch-level flood protection, or will they be looking to Uncle Sam for a hand?
Jerome J. Lazar, RA, CCS, CSI, SCIP
Senior Member
Username: lazarcitec

Post Number: 1011
Registered: 05-2003
Posted on Monday, November 18, 2013 - 07:16 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

The only green code I've had to deal with is for the City of Miami, its called Miami 21, you can google it and get to the main site. In regards to rising sea level there is just a lot of talk no money being spent yet.
Scott Mize
Senior Member
Username: scott_mize_ccs_csi

Post Number: 85
Registered: 02-2009

Posted on Tuesday, November 19, 2013 - 09:46 am:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

I imagine the idea of “flood-resistance” will generate the some of the same confusion as ideas of “fire resistance” and “bullet resistance” (at least in the minds of the public).

Just like nothing is truly “fireproof” or “bulletproof”, “floodproofing” is going to be about mitigation, life safety, and possibly infrastructure protection. It’s not going to keep everything and everyone safe and dry.

I’ve worked on just one project that required extensive flood protection, but it was a valuable experience:

The project was renovation of an existing shopping center. The site was not a floodplain when the project was first built, but had suffered periodic flooding due to development (and loss of floodplain/wetlands) upstream.

The AHJ (and more important, the owner’s insurance carrier!) required that the renovations include flood mitigation measures. It's been twenty years, but IIRC, this consisted of things like raising all the ground-mounted electrical stuff onto pedestals, super-extra-double sealing/grouting all joints and cracks in foundations and exterior walls, penetrating waterproof sealers on floors, installing one-way valves and cutoffs in the wastewater plumbing, gasketing all the exterior doors, installing flood panels (basically a swinging metal plate with gaskets and clamps) next to each exterior opening, etc.

We were told these measures would be considered “successful” if, after an episode of flooding, the structural elements and major electrical items were not damaged, and if the amount of water inside the stores was limited to a few inches (as opposed to a few feet).

Aside from raising everything that can be raised and putting a seawall around everything else, I don't know what else the Conch Republic could do; perhaps the experience of Key West and other, low-lying coastal areas will spawn a whole new set of mitigation ideas and technologies.

Or, perhaps Key West will become a charming city of canals and gondolas. (Wait, Florida already has a Venice. Well, you know what I mean.)

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