How engineers combat conditions within the ‘red zone’ of global warming

Wildfires negatively impact properties, livelihoods, and human health worldwide. 

What can we do to prepare our homes and reduce fire risk in advance? How are today’s engineers making infrastructure more resilient to climate change? In this Civil Engineering Magazine story, Dr. Michele Barbato discusses his work on compressed and stabilized earth blocks, and how they can be used to combat increasing wildfire risk throughout the U.S.

Read more on the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) website

A very old, new technology

Dr. Barbato is chair of the WiReS Technical Program Committee, director of CITRIS Climate initiative, co-director of the UC Davis Climate Adaptation Research Center, and a professor of structural engineering at UC Davis. He’s trying to find ways to build affordable homes that can withstand most of what the planet throws their way.

“I started with some colleagues looking at a new way of building,” Barbato said. “We ended up looking back at a very ancient solution — something that’s been around for more than 10,000 years.”

That “technology” was mud, or rather an engineered form of it called compressed and stabilized earth blocks.