Increasing homeowners adaptive capacity

Så kan huset klimatsäkras

Homeowners in Malmö and Hallsberg are already aware. Climate change increases the risk of extreme weather events, particularly flooding. With the help of Internet tool VisAdapt it is possible to see more concrete risk scenarios, depending on where the house is located and how it is built. Climate scientists in Sweden, Norway and Denmark have developed VisAdapt.

The first thing that one encounters when visiting the VisAdapt website is a Google map which, after entering the address, shows where the house is located. Then one has to answer a few questions regarding the house building materials and what the garden and surrounding landscape looks like. Based on this, information regarding expected climate risks at the chosen location will come up. Then the website tells both what expected risks might affect the house and how it can be prevented. The time horizon is 40-60 years.

The researchers behind VisAdapt have worked hard to make the tool as easy as possible, says Erik Glaas, Project Leader and Researcher at CSPR, Centre for Climate Science and Policy Research. An important aspect has been to make the information relevant, simple and transparent. At the beginning we had several target groups, but we have limited ourselves gradually to end up at the right level of information. Efforts to develop VisAdapt began in 2012. The commission came from the insurance industry and went through the Top-level Research Initiative to researchers in three Nordic countries, Sweden Norway, and Denmark.

- Insurance companies realized early on what climate changes might mean, especially concerning their commitments towards the homeowners. They decided to give 1 SEK per household insurance to support research on how climate risks can be minimized.
The development work has been done in collaboration between Linköping University, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim and Aarhus University and insurance companies If, Gjensidige, Trygg-Hansa/Codan and Tryg. By using different test groups in three countries, it has been refined gradually.

It is based on regional scenarios, developed by SMHI, of the probable climate change in the Nordic countries over the next 40-60 years. Guidelines have been gathered from authorities, municipalities as well as insurance companies. The advice given is, for example, how to avoid water leaks, flooding, rot and high indoor temperatures. VisAdapt was introduced in Autumn 2014 and today you can access it easily through multiple insurance companies and government websites. Barely a year after its commencement, 20 000 homeowners have already used the tool. But scientists have more ideas on how it can continue to develop and spread even further.

- Firstly, we want to make it even more transparent, for example by visualizing the suggestions for measures, says Erik Glaas. We also want to develop it for further application scope. Municipal decision-makers would, for example, benefit from using it at the Norrköping Decision Arena.

The project is funded by the Top-level Research Initiative within the framework of the Nordic Centre of Excellence (NCoE) NORD-STAR.

The Internet tool VisAdapt
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