Sustainable Pittsburgh, the American Society of Civil Engineers Pittsburgh Section and the Environmental and Water Resources Institute Pittsburgh Chapter are co-hosting a Resilient Infrastructure In The Age Of Climate Change Conference on May 19 at The August Wilson Center in downtown Pittsburgh starting at 8:00 a.m.
The Conference will focusing on developing real and tangible infrastructure protection strategies against the impacts of climate change, while finding new and innovative ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Presenters will showcase various strategies, tools, and real-world case studies for creating resilient infrastructure and communities for a changing climate.
“When you look at cities’ long-term plans, which every city has—and they go out decades for planning major infrastructure—they rarely have local climate projections available for their planning assumptions or design criteria,” said Duane Verner, Program Manager, Risk and Infrastructure Science Center, Global Security Sciences Division at Argonne National Laboratory, and the Conference keynote speaker.
“The climate models are showing that increases in extreme precipitation events are projected for the entire U.S., because there’s more humidity in the atmosphere,” Verner said, “and structures like culverts, that are built to standards for past historical rainfall events, won’t be able to accommodate this rush of rain.”
“Generally, planners are using historical records for droughts in their water resource planning processes, and our climate models show that, in many cases, historical records won’t provide an adequate worst-case scenario to plan for,” Verner said. “It will be much worse. Our goal is to help planners get the information they need to do their jobs, and to drive national efforts for future resilient infrastructure design.”
Grant Ervin, Chief Resiliency Officer, City of Pittsburgh, will discuss “City of Pittsburgh Climate Change and Resiliency Initiatives” during the conference.
“Rebuilding and reinvesting in our region's existing infrastructure is a critical aspect of building a more resilient Pittsburgh,” said Ervin. “It’s essential that we begin to think beyond simply just repairing these assets; we need to think about how our infrastructure can solve multiple challenges beyond their original intent.
“Roads need to be a form of transport, but also help manage storm-water, bridges need to connect communities, but also be designed for multiple modes of transport; and our waste systems need to go beyond simply dumping in a landfill or sent to a recycling center; they need to serve as sources of energy, agricultural nutrients and re-manufacturing,” explained Ervin. “Designing and building with resilience in mind leads us to create multiple benefits for projects and our region.”
Costa Samaras, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Civil and Environmental Engineering, Carnegie Mellon University will address “Adapting Infrastructure and Civil Engineering Practice to a Changing Climate, American Society of Civil Engineers – Committee on Climate.”
“Engineers have a responsibility to design infrastructure that performs well over multiple decades,” Samaras said. “Designing for resilience is not a niche aspect of engineering—it needs to be broadly incorporated into the field as a standard of practice.
“I have confidence that the creative and innovative professionals in the engineering community can rise to the resilience challenge,” said Samaras. “As we start to reinvest in our infrastructure, we need to make sure it can be resilient to the challenges of today, as well as increasing stressors due to climate change.”
Andre Struker, Strategic Advisor for Waternet will cover “Waste to Energy Strategies and Reducing GHG Emissions – An International Case Study.”
“Resilient cities are the backbones for economically sustainable regions. Local organizations have opportunities to make a difference,” said Struker. “Amsterdam connects public and private organizations with knowledge institutes so new innovations can become proven technologies.
“The goal of the water cycle organization, Waternet, is to become climate neutral in 2020. This gives the urgency for energy savings, renewable energy and smart energy solutions,” said Struker. “Examples are: biogas production out of waste water; wind and solar energy; and thermal energy out of drinking water.”
Waternet is the only water company in the Netherlands that is dedicated to the entire cycle of water: treating wastewater, producing drinking water, maintaining water levels and keeping surface water clean.
Click Here for the full Conference agenda.For more information and to register, visit the Resilient Infrastructure In The Age Of Climate Change Conference webpage.