On April 21, the Baker-Polito administration announced the launch of a web-based tool that will enable cities and towns to assess the climate change risk level of planned construction projects in their communities.

The Climate Resilience Design Standards Tool will help integrate climate projections and climate resilience design standards into state and local projects. The first-in-the-nation web instrument, developed by the state’s Resilient MA Action Team, can provide recommendations to make project design more resilient to severe weather events and changing environmental conditions.

“This tool will make climate resilience analysis more accessible to state and local agencies,” said Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito, “and reflects our administration’s steadfast commitment to partnering with municipalities to address the impacts of climate change.”

The Resilient MA Action Team sought to operationalize the state’s Integrated Hazard Mitigation and Climate Adaptation Plan as well as apply consistent and updated design standards across state agencies. The Climate Resilience Design Standards Tool aims to support municipal decision makers through local planning processes and when applying for state grant funding.

Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Kathleen Theoharides noted that the tool could be used by municipalities when applying for Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness program action grants. Nearly 90% of cities and towns are enrolled in the MVP program.

“It is imperative that all projects receiving state funding are planning for future climate risks,” Theoharides said.

The tool requires a series of inputs, including the project’s location, cost, purpose and expected useful lifetime. The tool incorporates the state’s most updated climate data to assess the potential climate change-related risks of the project and to make recommendations for ways the project design could be changed to improve its resilience.

Resilient MA has launched the tool in beta form and is inviting feedback so they can refine the tool based on user experience. Questions and comments can be directed to info.resilientma@mass.gov.

The announcement was part of the administration’s celebration of Earth Week in Massachusetts.

Written by