Durability and climate change - implications for wood building structures
Sustainable building practices are rooted in the need for reliable information on the long-term performance of building materials; specifically, the expected service-life of building materials, components, and assemblies. This need is ever more evident given the anticipated effects of climate change on the built environment and the many governmental initiatives world-wide focused on ensuring that structures are not only resilient at their inception but also can maintain their resilience over the long-term. The Government of Canada has funded an initiative now being completed at the National Research Council of Canada’s Construction Research Centre on “Climate Resilience of Buildings and Core Public infrastructure”. The outcomes from this work will help permit integrating climate resilience of buildings into guides and codes for practitioners of building and infrastructure design. In this paper, a brief overview is provided of the broad objectives of this initiative with emphasis on buildings, and a description of methods that will allow practitioners to design new, or retrofit existing, buildings for climate resiliency. The implications for the design of wood building structures in respect to durability and climate change are considered in light of previous work undertaken on establishing the service life of wood structures. Information is provided on current research programs on this topic and on guides and standards developed in support of this initiative.
Keywords: climate change, building envelope, degradation, durability, environmental loads, moisture performance, resilient buildings, service life, standards