Published: April 10, 2018

For every dollar the government spends to make existing buildings more resistant to wildfires, earthquakes, floods and hurricanes, $6 is saved in property losses, business interruption and health problems, according to a new study led by CU Boulder Professor Keith Porter.

The study also found that for every $1 spent to exceed building codes and make structures more hazard-resistant in the future, $4 would be saved. In all, over the next 75 years, these measures could prevent 600 deaths, 1 million injuries and 4,000 cases of post-traumatic stress disorder, the report concludes.

“Considering that natural-hazard losses continue to climb, exceeding $300 billion in 2017 alone, mitigation decisions are more pressing now than ever,” said principal investigator Porter, a research professor in the Department of Civil, Environmental and Architectural Engineering. “This study shows it pays to build new buildings better and to fix existing ones, and everybody wins when we do so.”

The multi-year study, Natural Hazard Mitigation Saves, was commissioned by the congressionally chartered nonprofit National Institute of Building Sciences and carried out by Porter’s consulting business SPA Risk LLC.