Climate Adaptation and Resilience Examples
IRS National Headquarters, Washington, DC
In late June 2006, a storm produced record rainfall in the Washington, D.C. area. The heavy rains overwhelmed storm water drainage systems and flooded the subbasement and basement of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) National Headquarters building with over 20 feet of water. The water from the storm severely damaged the electrical, heating, and air conditioning systems located in the subbasement and destroyed offices, vehicles, furniture, and computer equipment located in the building’s the basement and garage. Approximately 2,200 employees who worked in the building were assigned temporary space in other IRS facilities or began telecommuting because of the repair and rebuilding efforts.1
Recognizing that climate projections for Washington, DC show the increased potential for more extreme precipitation events like the 2006 flood, as well as risks related to sea level rise and extreme heat, IRS and GSA partnered together in 2013 for a workshop to better understand how a changing climate might impact the IRS facility. Following NASA’s seven step climate risks workshop process and using NOAA and USGCRP’s climate projections, GSA and the IRS were able to develop a set of strategies to mitigate these impacts.
The Washington, DC session was selected by the White House Council on Environmental Quality as a GreenGov Spotlight Community. A Spotlight Community demonstrates the benefit of a federal entity working with its neighbors, including local governments, area businesses, and non-profit organizations.
Building a Climate Resilient National Capital Region Workshops
To capitalize on the opportunity to improve regional climate adaptation planning and coordination at all levels, a series of free, invitation-only webinars and workshops are held in the DC region. The workshops provide federal, regional, and local organizations with an opportunity to work together, share technical information, and collaborate on climate adaptation strategies tailored to the National Capital Region. Stewardship of the region’s resources requires coordinating policy, tools, information, and expertise with others. Many federal, regional, and local agencies are individually exploring climate adaptation strategies for their buildings, infrastructure, workforce, and landscapes. However, no single entity can address all of its risks without working with other area organizations.
The workshops are sponsored by the National Capital Planning Commission, GSA, NASA, Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments, the Smithsonian Institution, and USGCRP. More information is available at MWCOG.org.