How Climate Change Will Affect Condo Communities in the Future

by | Mar 25, 2022 | Health & Safety, Planning

The effects of climate change pose significant challenges not just to how we live, but where we live. Condo communities in particular face damage from increasingly intense weather events caused by climate change, which includes:

  • Hurricanes
  • Tornados
  • Micro-bursts
  • Wildfires
  • Droughts
  • Heat Waves
  • Flooding
  • Landslides
  • Ice Storms

Regardless of where each of us stands on the causes of climate change, the fact remains that we, as a society, are increasingly faced with the realization that climate change is real, and its effects are greatly impacting our daily lives and will continue to do so if we’re not prepared.

But what are some of the changes that condo buildings and residents could expect to see due to climate change?

Let’s take a closer look at how climate change will affect condo communities in the future.

Higher condo fees

With the increased risk of damage faced by condo buildings from more extreme weather and changing climate conditions comes the need to be prepared to deal with the costs of such events. That means setting aside more money for condo corporation reserve funds. The result for condo residents? You guessed it – a bump in condo fees.

While it’s not ideal for residents to dish out more dollars, the costs are necessary if condo corporations want to be ready to address damages from extreme weather events and aging infrastructure. Older condo buildings were not built with the effects of climate change in mind and will likely suffer further damage when bad climate conditions do hit.

The importance of having an adequate condo corporation reserve fund to address infrastructure issues and damage from climate change was highlighted after the Florida condo collapse of June 2021 where it was found the condo association did not have adequate funds to properly maintain the building, which may have suffered structural damage from rising sea levels.

Other effects of climate change include increased flood risks, power outages, damage from higher winds, as well as damage to outside walls and materials and greater stress on air conditioning systems and chillers from increasingly hot weather.

Condos may become too hot to live in

Speaking of hot weather, with global temperatures continuing to increase at an alarming rate, condo buildings may become too hot to live in. Many condo buildings are now built with larger glass windows and, while it is a visually appealing addition for residents, it could make living in a condo more uncomfortable.

Large windows allow more sunlight in, which is then converted to heat, and when the temperature outside is already sweltering, this can raise the temperature in a unit to an uncomfortable level. Without an adequate air conditioning system and with more heatwaves being declared in the summer, this is becoming a big problem for condo residents and condo associations alike.

If the 2021 summer heatwave in British Columbia was any indication of things to come, it is going to be a rough future for condo communities. The 2021 heatwave, which led to roughly 700 deaths, forced many condo residents to leave their mid- and high-rise homes to cool off elsewhere.

New construction rules

To try to mitigate the negative impacts extreme weather events will have on current and future condo communities, legislative changes are being introduced to ensure buildings and infrastructure are constructed to withstand the effects of climate change.

Legislative changes being introduced include:

  • New guidelines for roof resiliency certification in response to extreme weather events
  • New structural design rules for buildings to take into account the changing climate
  • Climate resilience guidelines for existing stormwater systems
  • New basement flood protection standards

If not already in effect, many of these legislative changes are slated to be incorporated into Candian building codes by 2025

Contact Keller Engineering today so you’re prepared for tomorrow

The expert engineers at Keller Engineering are ready to help you prepare to meet the challenges of a changing climate.

With decades of trusted experience in services such as Condo Performance Auditing, Condo Reserve Fund Studies and more, you can rest assured that Keller Engineering will carry out projects with a level of integrity, honesty and thoroughness that is unmatched.

Contact us at 1-888-940-0571 to learn more about our condominium engineering services.