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Columbia Business Monthly

The Business Narrative: Flood Mitigation

Dec 28, 2022 03:29PM ● By David Dykes

Charleston Turns to Black & Veatch to Map Out City’s Water Resilience Future

Global water solutions leader Black & Veatch announced its selection by the city of Charleston, S.C., to draft a comprehensive, integrated flood mitigation plan for the 155-square-mile community along the Atlantic Ocean.

With Black & Veatch serving as an owner’s agent and project lead, company officials said the extensive evaluation will help Charleston understand, plan for, prioritize, manage and adapt to current and future flood risks, developing a 25-year framework of flood-mitigating strategies for near- and long-term community resilience.

The Black & Veatch team also will provide owner’s advisory services for Charleston’s coastal defense system if or when the city moves into the pre-construction engineering and design (PED) phase with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the officials said.

As the destructive effects of climate change are becoming more pronounced, most notably along coastal seaboards, Charleston – South Carolina’s biggest city, rapidly growing with 157,000 residents – is taking action by commissioning its first citywide flood-prevention strategy in nearly four decades.

The city’s goal is to develop a carefully crafted plan to address its coastal threats and provide a blueprint for other coastal communities to advance their own resilience strategies.

“Charleston’s rich and deep history includes a long pattern of flooding that’s becoming more pronounced with climate change, sea level rise, rain bombs and impacts of high and King tides,” said Dale Morris, Charleston’s chief resilience officer. 

“A key goal is to develop multiple-benefit approaches to flood risk and sea level rise adaptation while embracing our low-county marshes, creeks, rivers and coastal waters.”

“Demonstrating its aspirational and bold vision, Charleston is among the coast’s first cities to begin innovative, forward-looking planning for and management of flooding, taking seriously the realities of climate change impacts that include sea rise and tidal surges,” said Stephen O’Connell, a Charleston-based project manager for Black & Veatch.

“Charleston is steadfast in ensuring that its population and its guests continue to enjoy all that that scenic, historic city has to offer, and Black & Veatch will leverage its time-tested expertise to make that happen.”

The company’s service offerings include national expertise from the water management, coastal and civil engineering, nature-based design and community planning fields.

Census Data: South Carolina Among Fastest-Growing States

After a historically low rate of change between 2020 and 2021, the U.S. resident population increased by 0.4 percent, or 1,256,003, to 333,287,557 in 2022, according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s Vintage 2022 national and state population estimates and components of change.

Net international migration — the number of people moving in and out of the country — added 1,010,923 people between 2021 and 2022 and was the primary driver of growth.

That represents 168.8 percent growth over 2021 totals of 376,029 – an indication that migration patterns are returning to pre-pandemic levels. Positive natural change (births minus deaths) increased the population by 245,080.

The South, the most populous region with a resident population of 128,716,192, was the fastest-growing and the largest-gaining region last year, increasing by 1.1 percent, or 1,370,163.

Positive net domestic migration (867,935) and net international migration (414,740) were the components with the largest contributions to the growth, adding a combined 1,282,675 residents.

Among the Top 10 States in numeric growth from 2021 to 2022, South Carolina ranked 6th, adding 89,368 residents (for a July 1, 2022, population of 5,282,634).

The state, at 1.7 percent, ranked 3rd among the Top 10 States in percent growth from 2021 to 2022.

Allied Van Lines Releases Migration Map With 2022 Moving Trends

Allied Van Lines, one of the world's largest moving companies, has conducted its annual Migration Map report to identify key moving trends in the United States in 2022.

Every year, Allied Van Lines produces a Migration Map report based on its data to show relocation rates across the United States.

The analysis of thousands of U.S. moves shows that 20 percent fewer Americans moved in 2022 than in 2021 or 2020. Allied Van Lines has compiled its data and research to determine the top inbound and outbound states in the country.

Allied officials said that while the total number of moves was down in 2022, Arizona, South Carolina, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Texas were the top destination states, drawing new residents with affordability and overall better financial security.

The surge in demand in these states resulted in an increase in home prices which could make them less attractive in the coming years, the officials said. 

By contrast, California and New Jersey saw an exodus of residents due to the rising cost of living.

Residents in Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Illinois exited their states due mainly to slow job growth when compared to states like South Carolina, North Carolina, and Florida, Allied officials said.

Work and family continued to be major motivators for Americans moving in 2022 with many opting for larger homes at lower prices in the suburbs rather than major metropolitan cities, the officials said.

Weather and access to nature were smaller but significant factors as well.

To access the entire Migration Map report, go to Allied Van Lines.

Otis Florence Factory Receives Zero Waste to Landfill Certification

Otis Worldwide Corporation (NYSE: OTIS) said it achieved Gold-level TRUE (Total Resource and Use Efficiency) certification for zero waste efforts at its manufacturing facility in Florence, S.C.

Company officials said the Otis plant is the first in the elevator industry to be TRUE certified. It is also the first building-infrastructure facility to be certified in South Carolina, the officials said.

As part of its previously announced ESG targets, Otis said it aims to have all its factories eligible for zero-waste-to-landfill certification by 2025.

Administered by Green Business Certification Inc. (GBCI), the rigorous TRUE rating system requires facilities to divert at least 90 percent of non-hazardous solid waste from landfill, incineration (waste-to-energy), and the environment through the adoption of sustainable waste management and reduction practices.

"Achieving this milestone is a testament to the commitment and passion of our colleagues in Florence toward contributing to our overall Otis ESG targets and building a more sustainable future for all," said Rob Gokey, executive director, Otis North America Operations.

The Florence facility keeps nearly 98 percent of all site-generated waste out of landfills or incinerators. The plant recycled 6.62 million pounds of sheet metal from August 2021 to July 2022, and it reduced the overall amount of sheet metal used by 1.2 million pounds from its 2019 baseline.

Otis officials said reducing and recycling sheet metal at that scale required a concerted effort and included multiple improvements in systems, processes, and products. Otis also worked with suppliers to develop waste-management improvements for the facility.

"Zero waste is a powerful part of any company's sustainability strategy," said Peter Templeton, president and CEO of U.S. Green Building Council and GBCI.

"Through their TRUE certification, Otis enhances their operations in a way that demonstrates leadership in maximizing the lifecycle of every product to promote a fully circular economy."

Additional examples of the Otis factory's sustainable practices include generating approximately 25 percent of energy requirements from on-site solar panels, the use of LED lighting throughout the factory, and multiple projects to reduce packaging waste for finished goods.

More information about Otis' measurable goals and strategic actions across its four ESG focus areas of Health & Safety, Environment & Impact, People & Communities and Governance & Accountability can be found in the latest ESG Report.

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