Buildings are made up of many interconnected systems, and when one of them fails it may lead to unforeseen consequences. For example,60% of commercial buildings in New York City were without power for at least 60 days after Superstorm Sandy hit.. Had these buildings installed and properly maintained backup generators before the storm, businesses could have avoided power outages that result in the loss of business and, ultimately, revenue.

This section will outline the various building systems you should check on a periodic basis to ensure that your building is prepared for the next severe weather event or cyberattack. There are various technologies and strategies that you can implement to make your building or buildings more resilient. If your building employs any of the following technologies, be sure to check them regularly. Otherwise, these strategies can be used to protect your buildings from cyberattacks and severe weather events:

Smart Meters

Smart meters provide increased visibility into a building’s energy usage. Smart meters take energy readings of buildings at least daily. Knowing when or in what part of your building energy is being used is valuable information for both you and the utility.

One of the most appealing features of a smart meter is its ability to automatically communicate with the utility. The meter will keep the utility updated as to how much energy is being used during which periods of the day. The meter will also immediately inform utilities of the location of a power outage. Utilities can then respond to quickly restore power to the affected areas.

If you don’t already have smart meters equipped in your building, urge your utility to install them immediately.


Microgrids are essentially miniature versions of the electric grid that include localized generation and storage. Localized and increasingly clean generation allows microgrids to provide power to campuses and small communities independent of the central macrogrid. Communities and campuses with microgrids can keep businesses open and keep the lights on while first responders work to restore power.

Where a microgrid exists, loads are typically also connected to a traditional centralized grid. When the microgrid senses an outage, it disconnects from the central grid and uses its own generation and storage capabilities to serve the local electrical load.

Most existing buildings are not connected to a microgrid. Certain campuses – academic campuses, corporate campuses, data centers, and other groups of buildings with a need for highly reliable power – have already installed microgrids, but the opportunity for widespread deployment of microgrid technologies has yet to be realized.

To find out if your building is already connected to a microgrid, ask your building engineer or call your local electric utility. If you’re interested in finding out more about how to connect your building to a microgrid to reap the reliability and power quality benefits, skip ahead to Step Two: Identify and Implement Resilient Technologies.

Energy Storage

Energy storage systems, like lithium-ion electric batteries, not only provide backup power during a power outage, but they can be a bridge during the time it takes to switch over to microgrid power in the minutes immediate following a grid outage. Energy storage can also be used to regulate the quality of power and protect sensitive systems like hospital equipment that may be vulnerable to power surges during power restoration efforts.

The use of energy storage systems has the additional benefit of smoothing the availability of renewable resources. With the addition of energy storage, you can store wind energy from a windy day to use on a calm day. The same can be said for the incorporation of energy storage into solar generation. Energy storage makes distributed energy generation a much more viable solution on a smaller scale than was previously possible.

Distributed Generation

…… not just during power outages, but all the time ………

For most facilities with the need to maintain power throughout every type of grid disruption, the use of various energy sources should be considered. Placing generation mechanisms closer to loads eliminates line losses associated with long-distance power transmission. Additionally, interferences in power lines will no longer affect the availability of power.

Taking advantage of distributed generation allows you to more easily incorporate renewable resources into your power scheme. Wind turbines, solar panels, and micro-turbines can all be used to supplement the power supply to a building or campus. In some jurisdictions, utilities will even buy a surplus of energy from customers that have generated more energy than they have used.

When the grid loses power, these distributed energy resources can pick up the burden to provide you with uninterrupted power. Coupled with back-up generation, distributed resources are one of the best approaches for protecting your systems from grid failures.

To assess whether or not your facility is connected to distributed generation resources, talk to your building engineer or your local electric utility. If you would like to learn more about installing distributed generation resources, skip to Step Two: Identify and Implement Resilient Technologies.

Backup Generation

Different from distributed generation, backup generation provides a source of electricity during power outages. Onsite backup power is a reliable and cost-effective way to mitigate the risks to lives, property, and businesses from power outages. For many facilities, such as assisted living facilities and nursing homes, there is a life safety aspect to consider. Power loss to other facilities, such as cell tower sites, emergency call centers, and gasoline stations have far-reaching social impacts and availability in these locations is critical.

For businesses with highly sensitive loads, such as data centers and financial institutions, the risk of economic losses from downtime is high. One way to mitigate these losses is onside backup power equipment. For more information about specific types of backup generation, skip to Step Two: Identify and Implement Resilient Technologies.

Electrical Wiring,Conduit, Cabling, and Components

For critical equipment, cabling should be used that is resistant to long-term submersion in water, as well as oil and other pollutants potentially present in flood waters that may have an effect on less robust insulation materials. Conduit installations, which provide mechanical protection and adaptability to future system changes, should include wet location conductors in areas that might be exposed to potential water damage. Additionally, steel conduit can be used for EMF/EMI shielding.

In addition, there are classes of transformers, switches, and enclosures that are designed to be submersible. Initial equipment installation can be more expensive than non-submersible equipment, but can pay for itself in subway systems and substation environments that are susceptible to flooding.

To find out if your building’s wire, conduit, cable, and other electrical components are potentially susceptible to water damage, you should start by identifying 1) if you have critical electrical systems located below grade, and 2) if your building is at risk of flood visit the FEMA Flood Map Service Center to identify flood plains. If your building is at risk of flooding, skip to Step Two: Identify and Implement Resilient Technologies to find out how to upgrade your building’s wire and cabling to improve its resiliency.
The information in this section has been adapted from the National Electrical Manufacturers Association report, Storm Reconstruction: Rebuild Smart, Reduce Outages, Save Lives, Protect Property.

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