Ten-Year Goal:

Create mature solutions for resilient infrastructure and vehicles to scale their adoption.

Graphic: Resilient Communities and Infrastructure

The Challenge

Resilience iconHistorically, DOE’s National Laboratories have pursued a portfolio of research and development focused on mitigating increases in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and associated adverse impacts to the natural environment. Specific to energy technologies, Berkeley Lab has led this pursuit, providing four decades of breakthroughs in energy efficiency in buildings and industry — two sectors responsible for approximately one-third of all U.S. national GHG emissions.


City buildings

Research Summary

Even as the evolution of our natural environment presents new challenges for adaptation and mitigation, our communities will continue to thrive, attaining dramatic increases in the quality of life. That is the vision driving this research. New technology and processes will enable our building infrastructure and its interfaces with grid and transportation systems to dynamically adapt to external stressors.

Improving quality of life and supporting the ability of community-scale infrastructure to adapt will result in tremendous economic and human health benefits.

This initiative is targeting two key impacts and associated goals:

1) Reductions in economic loss following natural disasters, achieved through:
  • Improved infrastructure fortification levels (resistance to failure, time to repair)
  • A reduction in the time required to return a building to a habitable state (survival)
  • A reduction in the time required to restore or maintain principal building services (comfort and productivity) 
2) Near-zero mortality and trauma, due to:
  • Enhanced forecasting of infrastructure stressors and severity
  • Robust communication and guidance systems for public response before, during, and after major events and chronic risks
  • Increased investment in and adoption of resilience technologies and practices 


For more details on this initiative, take a look at ETA's 2021 Strategic Plan.


Short Term (six months – two years)

  • Develop a suite of complementary metrics to quantify resilience for individual buildings and their interfaces with transit corridors, as well as aggregates at the community scale.
  • Design networks to monitor, track, and evaluate the resilience of real-world infrastructure and implement one or two early instances.
  • Pursue coupled environmental-infrastructure models for one or two multi-stressors + resilience solution scenarios.
  • Develop a prioritized resilience technology and materials development agenda and launch near-term activities.
  • Within a two-year time frame, we will demonstrate an integrated yet modular platform of measurement, modeling, and technology solutions that can be hardened for transition from laboratory development into real-world testing environments.

Medium Term (three – five years)

  • Develop new sensors and incorporate them into the design of expanded monitoring networks. 
  • Verify the ability to predict the impact of location-relevant stressors on infrastructure, and characterize limits. 
  • Apply and evaluate retrofit packages for resilience based on current state-of-the-art technologies in ~10 real buildings in different region-stressor contexts. 
  • Use validated models in at least three cities to assess and value community-wide infrastructure resilience, to support resilience planning.
  • Within a five-year time horizon, we will integrate technology and modeling solutions and work with partners to apply and evaluate them their applications.

Long Term (five years and beyond)

  • Integrate methods to value resilience into reference/model codes and policy “templates.”
  • Make trustworthy simulation tools available to inform infrastructure design, operation, and community response. 
  • Make commoditized resilience solution sets based on new and legacy materials and building technology available for procurement. 
  • Routinely embed resilience measurement and monitoring networks into infrastructure and integrate them for use as a “public utility.” 
  • In the long term, we will have created viable, mature solutions for resilient infrastructure, as well as the vehicles necessary to scale their adoption.

Partnerships will be critical to meeting the technical objectives of this initiative and its associated impact goals. Building upon the history of strong industry engagements in pursuit of our historical resilience research, this initiative will grow collaborations with researchers and research institutions interested in this cross-cutting topic, modelers in environmental sciences, architects, designers and engineers, as well as state and local governments and jurisdictions who are currently designing and adopting policies that will guide future investments.