Xiaoyu Liu

Liu_XiaoyuPaper (11): Beyond Carbon Mitigation: the Necessity of Resilience for Commercial Buildings in Disaster-Prone Regions

Abstract: The way to address climate risk depends on the investment decision that trades off, at least implicitly, carbon mitigation (slowing down the global warming) for resilience management (adapting to the global warming). As a traditional solution, investment in carbon mitigation, such as adopting energy efficient technologies, can save energy cost and get revenues from carbon offset sales. As global temperature continues increasing and more areas are subjected to severe natural disasters, the investment in carbon mitigation becomes less attractive than ever, given that the uncertain cost of structure failure can easily overshadow the merits of saved energy and emissions. Resilience management is therefore gaining prominence as a complementary tool to control the loss from climate risk. This tool, working together with carbon mitigation, is expected to build a more sustainable and resilient community.

This study proposes a dynamic optimization model to characterize firms’ climate actions in the context of disaster-prone regions where the buildings are exposed to the risk of multiple natural disasters. In addition to traditional approaches of reducing carbon emissions, they are offered with an option of enhancing structure resilience for adapting to flooding and hurricanes in the future. Each firm is a profit maximizer. The profit accounts for not only the payoffs from carbon mitigation, but also for the expected losses from building failure in disaster. Seven disaster-prone areas across the United States are studied for illustrative purposes with more than one natural disasters weighing into the loss estimation.

Biography:  Xiaoyu Liu is currently a Ph.D. candidate in project management at University of Maryland, College Park. Xiaoyu gradated Tsinghua University with a B.A. degree in environmental engineering in 2009 and an M.S. degree in chemical engineering in 2011.

Xiaoyu’s general research area is climate change mitigation and adaptation in construction. Her research interests include assessing life-cycle carbon emission reductions and converting the reductions into tradable carbon credits. Lately she has focused on the design of additionality baseline and the impact of infrastructure resilience on reducing climate risks.

Xiaoyu is a future faculty fellow at the UMD. She has authored six papers in top-ranking journals in the field of environment and energy, and awarded a total of $400,000 research funding from the state government and private companies.