We all know that our region is facing enormous challenges as we grapple with flooding. While many factors such as development patterns and climate change affect flood risk, it comes down to how much rainfall we get and how runoff from storm events can be managed. Accurate information on rainfall amounts is essential to address these threats.
Welcome to our January edition of HARC news. Each month we include a variety of blogs, featured projects, and researcher updates to provide a look inside HARC. As always, we appreciate your interest in our work, and want to begin our promising 2018 with reflections on the many achievements of 2017, as told throughout the year in our monthly dispatches.
Putting principles into practice, HARC completed construction of a new office facility that has been certified by the US Green Building Council at the highest ‘Platinum’ level within its LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) program. Taking responsibility for energy efficiency, water conservation, and cost-effective use of environmentally friendly materials yields many benefits in reduced utility bills, clean indoor air, ample natural lighting, and contented occupants. Our new home has already taught us much about what it means to apply the fundamentals of sustainability in such a meaningful way.
Our People & Nature Speaker Series welcomed two highly acclaimed authors, as well as a broad regional audience. Addressing some of the most imperative issues of our time, Dr. Katharine Hayhoe of Texas Tech made the compelling case for proactive climate adaptation. Bill Ritter, Jr., former Governor of Colorado, was a voice of clarity on the vexing and vital questions of energy supplies and security. The insights of these and other vanguard thinkers oblige us to challenge our own ideas on such critical matters.
2017 was a watershed year, in more ways than one. As we witnessed the tragedies wrought by the floods of Hurricane Harvey it became clear that Houston can no longer afford to ignore the consequences of destroying wetlands and other outmoded development practices that contributed to the unfolding disaster. As the flood water receded and the scale of the devastation was revealed, HARC scientists were some of the first to bring forth important data and analyses on the impacts and implications for power utilities, water resources, infrastructure, and communities. These events underscore the urgency of understanding how we can make our homes, businesses, and critical facilities more resilient.
We invite you to revisit these and other highlights from 2017 in this newsletter and on our website, as a prelude to an auspicious 2018. Building on a heritage of accomplishment that began with Mr. Mitchell’s profound understanding of the need for independent research, we go confidently forth, doing our part to help people thrive and nature flourish.