Sunday, January 13, 2013

The Backup Generation

This is interesting and not all that surprising - - buildings are madly waterproofing.  From The New York Times today by Julie Satow, New York's Machine of the Moment - -

"Now, more than two months after the storm caused millions of dollars in damage, novel and costly waterproofing techniques are being employed, including the addition of backup generators and floodgates and the relocation of mechanical equipment.  The owners of buildings that predate the flooding are also looking at these measures, although retroactive installation is so complex and costly that some may decide not to do anything.
"If you are in the flood zone and you are marketing a new high-end property, it will need to stand up to the test of another superstorm," said Stephen G. Kliegerman, the executive director of development marketing for Halstead Property.  "I think buyers would happily pay to be relatively reassured they wouldn't be terribly inconvenienced in case of natural disaster.""

Other key points in the article - -
  • Relocating basement mechanical systems means eliminating space on upper floors that could have been used for apartments or building amenities.
  • The Dutch philosophy - - allow the lower level of buildings and parks to flood to retain the water.
  • "Our switchgear is in the basement and I don't know how one can move that elsewhere."
  • While buying a generator itself may not be that expensive - - it is the "everything else" that greatly runs up the overall coat.
  • Remember the interface points with a backup generator - - securing a fuel supply is critical.
  • Defend or retreat - - the backup generator or preparing people to evacuate buildings is a key tradeoff (social, political, economic, etc.).
  • The building code does not count basement space used for mechanical equipment in the square footage permitted by zoning.
  • Builders want to be more resilient but don't want to be penalized by giving up space.
  • Seawalls or backup generators - - completion in tens of years versus months.  The backup generation will be purchasing a bunch of backup generators. 

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