Skip to content

Smart money: Report finds building for climate resilience can leverage strong financial returns on investment


Real estate projects designed to withstand the effects of climate change can provide substantial returns on investment and an array of other benefits, according to a new report, “Returns on Resilience: The Business Case.”

The report was released recently by the Urban Land Institute, with funding from The Kresge Foundation. Case studies from 10 leading resilience projects were highlighted, ranging from a Boston hospital built to withstand coastal storms to a residential community in San Antonio built to withstand the effects of intense heat and drought. Other communities with highlighted case studies include Queens, N.Y.; Miami; Grand Cayman, Grand Cayman Islands; Nashville, Tenn.; Tucson, Ariz. and Lancaster, Calif.

The study found an array of benefits from the climate-smart designs in addition to their strength against climate unpredictability. They include:

  • Better energy efficiency. For example, multilayered impact-resistant windows save energy and reduce utility bills.
  • Greater marketing, sales and leasing success driven by buyers’ desires for well-built structures that will withstand harsh conditions and keep their value longer.
  • Better financing options and lower insurance rates based on the reduced risk from resilient and hardened structures.

“The case studies … demonstrate emerging best practices for addressing climate risks,” reads the report. “Not surprisingly, what many of these projects show is that, where resilience efforts are planned in tandem with sustainability measures, the results are likely to lead to success in better financing, faster and higher lease rates, more competitive insurance premiums, lower utility bills and greater returns on investment.”

The full report is available here.