Bechtel is construction’s sole member in group fighting heatwaves

US engineer Bechtel has become the only construction company to join the Extreme Heat Resilience Alliance (EHRA), a public-private group set up by US think-tank the Atlantic Council to deal with extreme heatwaves caused by global warming.

The company was invited to join by Kathy McLeod, director of the Rockefeller Foundation Resilience Centre. McLeod commented in a press release that Bechtel would "prove invaluable" to the alliance owing to its "vast urban planningcredentials, along with its century-plus expertise in delivering public infrastructure".

In particular, Bechtel is to use its experience of designing in heat resilience, developing guidelines to support climate-proof construction standards, performing cost-benefit analyses of innovations, and collaborating with regional institutions to "support projects that protect communities from extreme heat".

The move follows a report from consultant McKinsey in November last year that India was likely to experience heatwaves that would "cross the survivability limit for a healthy human being resting in the shade" (see further reading).

Tam Nguyen, Bechtel’s manager for sustainability, in said in the press statement: "Heat waves are one of the most dangerous weather hazards facing communities around the world and coping with them is more than a technical challenge; it’s also a human one, where vulnerable people tend to suffer the most.

"We’re pleased to join an expert alliance that is helping to find solutions, and contribute the lessons learned from our projects worldwide."

The EHRA has more than 30 members, including the governments of urban centres such as Melbourne and Mexico City, as well as disaster relief charities and experts in the fields of public health, climate change risk and disaster management.

Image: Passers-by walk under a misting system during a 2019 heatwave in Montreal (Dreamstime)

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