Societal Implications of Performance-Based Earthquake Engineering - 1332005

Project Title—ID Number Societal Implications of Performance-Based Earthquake Engineering - 1332005
Start/End Dates 10/1/05 – 9/30/06
Funding Source PEER-NSF
Project Leader (boldface) and Other Team Members Peter J. May (UW/F), Chris Koski (UW/GS)
F=faculty; GS=graduate student; US=undergraduate student; PD=post-doc; I=industrial collaborator; O=other

Project goals and objectives

The goals of this continuing project from Year 8 are to:

  • - Characterize the societal implications of the use of performance-based approaches earthquake engineering assessment and design;
  • - Draw implications for efforts to implement PBEE methodologies.

Role of this project in supporting PEER's mission (vision)

This project fits into the PEER agenda of addressing implementation considerations and societal implications of PBEE.

Methodology employed

The project entails review of commentary about the societal benefits of PBEE, review of prior research concerning benefits of earthquake engineering innovations, and data collection and analysis of the adoption of analogous voluntary provisions.

Brief Description of previous year's achievements, with emphasis on accomplishments during last year (Year 8)

This project is aimed at characterizing the societal implications of the use of performance-based approaches to engineering with particular attention to PBEE. The main goal is to draw implications for efforts to implement PBEE methodologies with respect to potential societal benefits and costs. The Year 8 project collected background material concerning various commentaries about PBEE. In searching for examples of successful societal adoption of regulatory innovations, we decided to focus attention on "green buildings" and the growing movement for adoption of the green building voluntary standards. We have collected documents about this movement and as part of the Year 9 project are collecting data about the factors that have led states to adopt the voluntary standards for public and other buildings. This should serve as a useful case study from which lessons can be drawn for PBEE. There has been much interest in this analog among the engineering community at the sessions where we have presented our findings to date.

The Year 9 work to date has sought to identify the lessons from the Green Buildings in seeking answers to key questions: (1) How did the guidelines move into general use? (2) What was involved in gaining acceptance of the voluntary standards? (3) What specific actions helped catapult these into prominence?

A working paper on state adoption of green building requirements has been completed and submitted for publication. Table 1 shows the different state mandates that were adopted as of July 2005 that require adherence to green building standards for aspects of state construction.

Table 1. State Mandates for Green Buildings

Yeara StateState Provisions Governor (Party)
Executive Order Adoption
2001 New York New state projects – incentives to be green Pataki R
2002 New Jersey New school designs McGreevey D
2003 Maine New or expanded state buildings Baldacci D
2004 California New and renovated state facilities Schwarzenegger R
2005 Arizona All state-funded buildings Napolitano D
2005 Michigan New state-funded buildings and major renovations Granholm D
2005 Colorado All state buildings Owens R
2005 Rhode Island All new, expanded, or renovated public buildings Carcieri R
Legislative Adoption
2001 Oregon Sustainable tax credit for green buildings b 57-3; 26-3 c D
2005 Washington New state-funded buildings and major renovations 78-19; 32-16 D
2005 Maryland New, major state capital projects 134-1; 47-0 c R
2005 Nevada All state-funded state buildings, tax incentives 38-0; 19-0 R
2005 Pennsylvania Incentives for new school construction 193-5; 50-0 D
2005 Arkansas Encouragement for green design in state facilities 91-0; 35-0 R
Source: U.S. Green Building Council (2005) for state adoption and content.
  • Notes:
  • a States are ordered within categories of adoption by year and month of adoption.
  • bGovernor Kulongoski (D) issued executive orders in 2003 and 2006 that set green-building goals for state buildings and schools with reference to the 2001 sustainability legislation.
  • c State legislative votes in state house and senate respectively; designation of party of the governor. Data collected from individual states.

We have undertaken analyses of a va riety of factors that contribute to increased likelihood of adoption of state green building mandates. State actions in mandating these requirements are responsive to interest-group advocacy, the need for action, and bureaucratic considerations while resistant to interest-group opposition. The findings point to unique alignments and call attention to governors as environmental entrepreneurs. Unlike most environmental issues that involve visible and contentious debates, state requirements for green-buildings have been adopted with little controversy. Governors have been key players in exercising their administrative discretion in enacting green-building executive orders and in showing leadership in promoting green- building legislation. Table 2 elaborates on the role of governors in showing that they are responsive to the interest group pressures and cultural environments in deciding whether to endorse green building requirements.

Table 2. Political Context and Governors

Contingent Effect for a Coefficient b (s.e.) Original Effect c Contingent Effect b
Interest group advocacy of stronger code provisions (Democratic governor) .53**
.11 .22
Interest group opposition to stronger code provisions (Republican governor) -2.51**
-.24 -.40
Political culture – more moralistic government (Democratic governor) .28**
-.01 (n.s.) .27
  • a Cells show relevant information about the influence of selected political variables for green building adoption conditioned on governors of a particular party (shown in parentheses) holding office at the time of the decision to adopt a green building provision.
  • b Logistic regression coefficient (standard error in parentheses) for the interaction of governor as a dummy variable and the relevant political variable. The coefficient is what is obtained when substituting the interaction term for the relevant political variable in the combined model that controls for energy demands, costs, and economic contexts.
  • c Effect of the original political variable as part of logistic modeling that controls for energy demands, costs, and economic contexts.
  • d Effect of the political variable conditioned on governor of the designated party. The effect is calculated in the same manner as the original effect, except taking into account the relevant party status of the governor.

The Year 9 effort will continue to develop a broader perspective on the societal implications of PBEE, drawing lessons from the Green Buildings and other relevant innovations. At a minimum, this research will provide a more systematic basis for discussing the societal implications of greater use of PBEE.

Other similar work being conducted within and outside PEER and how this project differs

The societal implications of performance-based regulation is topic of much interest to three groups: (1) International Council for Research and Innovation in Building and Construction (CIB) Task Group 37 addressing "Performance and Building Controls," (2) the Inter- Jurisdictional Regulatory Collaboration Committee (IRCC) comprised of building regulatory officials from eight countries, and (3) the ATC 58 project on performance-based seismic design. The PI continues to be involved with these forums, thereby providing important outlets for the proposed PEER research.

Describe any instances where you are aware that your results have been used in industry

The research has been of interest to some industry partners who are concerned about appropriate regulatory standards for "tall buildings" as evidenced by recent commentary and discussions in San Francisco and Los Angeles.

Expected milestones & deliverables

Mar 31, 2006 Development of paper that analyzes variation in adoption of Green Building voluntary regulations at state levels, providing insights into adoption patterns of voluntary codes. [Completed]

June 30, 2006 Development of framework for characterizing the societal benefits and costs, at least in qualitative terms, of PBEE and performance-based regulation.

Sept 30, 2006 Draw implications for efforts to implement PBEE methodologies with respect to potential societal benefits and costs.

Member company benefits

Consideration of broader societal perspectives of PBEE.

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