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Investing in Resilience – BCSE Weighs in on New Federal Program

The saying goes that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure; a more exact quantification by the National Institute of Building Sciences finds that $1 of mitigation spending can reduce future costs by as much as $13.

Many Business Council for Sustainability (BCSE) members, from lighting and HVAC manufacturers to electric and gas utilities, build and install efficiency and resilience technologies that protect the built environment from natural disasters and save customers and communities expense and heartache.

Learn more about how BCSE members are delivering technology solutions and systems that are on-the-ground today and enhancing the resilience of local communities through this selection of case studies on Readiness for Resilience.

Based on member expertise in the field of infrastructure resilience, BCSE supported the passage of the Disaster Recovery and Reform Act (DRRA) in 2018, which led the U.S. federal government to expand its disaster mitigation work. This included the creation of a new program at the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), (BRIC).

The BCSE views the newly created BRIC program as an important opportunity to advance clean energy and energy efficiency projects that enhance community resilience and advance the nation towards a sustainable energy future. Because of this, the coalition has worked to expand awareness and understanding of the program through a recent webinar that the BCSE and the Clean Energy Business Network hosted on the BRIC program on April 24.

Based on the coalition’s experience in public contracting for resilience projects, the BCSE submitted comments on the proposed program. In the BCSE's May 11 comments to FEMA, the Council offered several recommendations, including:

  • Eligibility for clean energy projects that improve resilience, especially accounting for emerging climate risks such as heat waves and wildfires
  • Prioritization of projects that advance multiple policy objectives of a state, to increase resilience as well as efficiency and climate impacts
  • For buildings, preference for projects that utilize the most modern building codes
  • Preference for projects that leverage private-sector finance through performance-based contracts

The reasoning for these recommendations, along with other comments, are available in the full comments.