How to Assess Your Home’s Risk From Climate Change

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photo: johnmoorefour (Shutterstock)

seems we It can’t go more than a few days without an alarming headline about the passing Climate crisis – from a looming “megastorm” in California, to a “Environmental nuclear bomb” brewing in Utah, to data to suggest so Extreme temperatures (above 100 degrees Fahrenheit) are likely to occur more frequently and for longer periods of time across a larger part of the country in the coming decades.

While these environmental issues affect everyone, they are expected to have a significant impact on areas that are also hotspots for population growth. For example, dangerous heat waves are expected to hit Arizona, Texas and Florida particularly hard. (Texas has added the most residents in the last ten years.)

Ignorance might be a bliss, but it’s probably better to know the risk of fire, flood, and other environmental disasters where you live — or especially before you buy a home. If you are determined to live in a certain geographic location, you will likely need to accept some risk that is not specific to your property. But if you’re just thinking about moving in the future, calculating risk can influence your decision about where and when. environmental hazards can both affect house prices and take into account running costslike flood insurance.

How to assess the environmental risk of your home

You can certainly look up fire and flood plane charts and try to interpret historical data and trend predictions yourself, but the nonprofit First Street Foundation created a tool called Risk Factor that does it all for you. Simply enter the address of your home or potential purchase in the search bar to view fire, flood and heat risk. You can also search by zip code, city, or county.

Image for article titled How to Assess Your Home's Risk from Climate Change

screenshot: Emily Lang

The tool rates each risk factor on a scale of 1-10 and further breaks down risk using historical data and current and future forecasts. When searching for a specific address, the tool includes information such as distance from the water, building materials used, and relative elevation.

Image for article titled How to Assess Your Home's Risk from Climate Change

screenshot: Emily Lang

Several property search platforms, including and Redfin, also integrate risk factor data directly into the listings. Of course, it should be remembered that this is only a predictive tool for approximate risks and is not a guarantee – it also does not cover all environmental concerns or natural disasters.

Why is it important to know your climate risk?

Again, when investing in a home, you want to know if an environmental disaster is possible or almost certain in the future. salesperson may not be required to disclose Details of risks or past climate events affecting the property. You may need to get risk-specific insurance – and even if it’s not required, it can still be a good idea. Factors such as extreme heat can affect energy use over time and increase costs, and major climate events can affect the community at a broader scale.

Bottom line: Be an informed buyer and homeowner. High risk doesn’t necessarily have to stop you from living where you want, but you can consider it and mitigate it where possible.

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