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Pressrelease | 2023-09-20
Översvämmat vattendrag i Stjärnsund, Dalarna.

Research project to identify sustainable measures that can prevent damage from extreme weather events

Extreme weather with heavy rainfall is becoming increasingly common and is threatening cities and communities. In a new research project in Sweden and Norway, the most economically and environmentally sustainable measures to climate-proof residences will now be identified. The project is led by CICERO, Center for International Climate Research, in collaboration with IVL Swedish Environmental Research Institute and If Insurance.

– Climate change will impose significant stresses on society. We will inevitably live with weather situations that will damage and destroy property to a greater extent in the future. This means that we must do everything we can to prevent and counteract damage, and at the same time work proactively to minimize and optimize how we use resources to address damage and losses, says Johan Holmqvist, researcher and project manager at IVL.

Approximately 70 percent of all water damage occurs during the summer months when there are many intense rains that are difficult to predict. Weather-related water damage has also been the largest cost for Norwegian insurance companies over the past ten years. Many urban environments and coastal communities are particularly vulnerable to flooding from rivers and intense precipitation.

The purpose of the project "Sustainable insurance and climate change adaptation" is to identify sustainable measures that can prevent damage caused by extreme rainfall and downpours.

– This is the first time we are looking so specifically at concrete measures against damage after extreme rainfall, which is also placed in a larger climate context. We need to gather facts about which measures are cost-effective for individuals and housing associations but also from a broader and longer-term perspective, where we look at climate impact and emissions over time, says Sofie Waage Skjeflo, project manager at CICERO.

More evidence-based advice

For If, it is about being able to provide even better and research-based advice to customers. The target group is homeowners and housing associations facing the challenge of preparing for natural damage in the form of downpours.

– Increased collaboration and knowledge sharing among different stakeholders will be crucial for the success of society's climate adaptation work. Through this project, we hope to provide even more concrete advice to our customers and contribute to effective climate adaptation work in Sweden and Norway, says Philip Thörn, Head of Sustainability at If.

Part of the project is to identify measures that protect against damage from extreme rainfall, which can range from individual homeowners' efforts such as backflow valves and drainage, but also targeted at housing associations, including green-blue solutions, as green infrastructure helps manage high water flows. Other concrete measures that may be included in the study are vegetated roofs that retain water and various types of vegetated beds.

The project will use life cycle analysis (LCA) to assess climate adaptation measures based on their impact on greenhouse gas emissions and from a personal financial perspective.

– In terms of sustainability, we primarily look at how the physical measures can prevent further climate impacts from occurring, which it does if property is destroyed prematurely, requires construction work or repairs with new materials and resources that have a climate impact, says Rasmus Andersson, LCA-specialist at IVL.

The project will run for one year, and the results will be presented in a report with recommendations for homeowners and housing associations.

For more information, please contact:
Johan Holmqvist, johan.holmqvist@ivl.se, +46 (0)10-788 66 49
Rasmus Andersson, rasmus.andersson@ivl.se, +46 (0)10-788 67 43
Philip Thörn, philip.thorn@if.se, +46 (0)70-985 38 11


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