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How to Build Stronger Communities with Green Resilience Hubs

Green Resilience Hubs Report Cover

In an era of climate extremes, where out-of-control wildfires exist alongside hundred-year floods, how can communities adapt to these changing conditions with sustainable development? A new report from the Yale Center for Business and the Environment, in partnership with the Connecticut Green Bank, provides a comprehensive analysis of the feasibility of design and financing for Green Resilience Hubs (GRH). 

Green Resilience Hubs are physical facilities equipped with clean energy technologies and strategically located to offer vital services to local communities before, during, and after emergencies such as natural disasters. In average conditions, these facilities provide safe living and working environments, affordable access to power, and accessible community space. In the event of a natural disaster, these hubs would serve as central locations for emergency shelter, communication coordination, and backup power for refrigeration, charging stations, medical equipment, and more:

“Beyond providing emergency services, GRHs generate year-round revenue for communities and avoided emissions for the benefit of society. Notably, our calculations indicate that the net present value of avoided emissions from the modeled system amounts to approximately $312,000, assuming a social cost of carbon of $190, a social discount rate of 5%, and an expectation that the electrical grid in CT reaches net-zero carbon emissions by 2040. It is important to note that while avoided emissions are not currently monetized, they represent significant additional value that GRHs bring to society.”

In addition to best practices on the creation and design of these facilities, the report showcases an array of incentives (including federal tax credits made possible through the Inflation Reduction Act) that can allow communities across the country to harness the power of financial mechanisms to drive sustainable practices. In prior years, GRH yielded low financial returns, with the addition of incentives and tax credits from the American Rescue Plan, and  a number of other preexisting tax credits and financing options from state, local and federal governments, that has changed tremendously. 

Those who are, have been, or will be most impacted by the effects of climate change are in communities that have lived with significant under-investment and a lack of opportunity. These communities are on the front lines of climate change, and until now lacked a clear way to create more resilient environments for their communities with public and private investment. Green Resilience Hubs are one path for sustainable development that can continue to serve their communities, rain or shine. 

“The case study and analysis presented herein aim to be a valuable resource for developers, investors, and interested communities striving to enhance collective resilience in the face of natural disasters,” say the report authors and recent graduates of the Yale School of the Environment, Sarah Gledhill, Maggie Thompson and Max Wasser. “We hope this report will foster the development of these vital projects across the United States.”

On November 3rd at 12:00 PM ET, the report authors will hold a webinar to talk about their research, give an overview of the report as well as the financial model they have constructed and how they can be to be adapted to analyze other projects across the United States. Register for the free webinar here.