The world in which HARC exists is dynamic and extreme events—whether related to natural disasters or public health crises—drive planning and policy efforts across all levels of government and the private sector. Now more than ever there is a need for science-based solutions and independent analyses that address overlapping economic, environmental, and social issues.
HARC has gained wide recognition among funders and partners for its approach to generating actionable information from complex data. Our team of scientists, engineers, geospatial and policy experts work every day to analyze the many datasets that describe energy, air and water resources, ecosystems, the built environment, and the economic and social well-being of communities. HARC researchers develop information products and tools upon which sound policy and practical decisions can be made to benefit society.
Last year, much of HARC’s sustainability research focused on clean energy transition strategies; planning for a low carbon future; understanding connections between water resources, landscapes, and people; analyzing data to reduce the health impacts of air pollution on vulnerable communities; and working to reduce the impacts of climate change through mitigation, resilience, and adaptation efforts.
In addition to our research efforts, in 2019, HARC became the first organization in Texas to operate a LEED Platinum, certified net-zero energy commercial building. This 18,600 square foot living lab allows HARC scientists and engineers to test new building technologies and collect real-time data. Our building represents a targeted response action to achieve reductions in greenhouse gas emissions and serves as an evidence-based model for architectural designers, developers, and builders in the Gulf Coast region.
In 2019, HARC’s Board of Directors approved a three-year strategic plan that focuses on six key initiatives: Excellence in Science and Research, Technology and Policy Impacts, Community Connections, Green Building Showcase, Collaborative
Culture, and Organizational Growth. With this plan as a blueprint for the future, HARC seeks to provide transformative research and top-tier science that speak to our legacy as a science-based, sustainability organization.
With our multi-disciplinary, innovative team, HARC is positioned to enter the next decade ready to address the most pressing sustainability challenges and opportunities. We are building a dedicated, multidisciplinary Climate Program that will use data analytics to facilitate a greater understanding of climate risk in Texas and facilitate the diffusion and adoption of climate mitigation and adaptation strategies. This new program will enhance our ability to provide robust analyses and applied research in support of technical assistance and science-based policies for the private and public sectors.
The successes highlighted in the following pages are the result of ongoing partnerships and innovative collaborations. We express sincere appreciation and gratitude to our supporters, especially our partners and the funders that make HARC’s work possible. The challenges ahead can sometimes seem daunting. However, increasing recognition of the importance of clean energy solutions and decarbonization, coordinated and green approaches to water management, and clean air for the health of communities show that there is a growing movement for a more sustainable future. We at HARC look forward to working with you to make the future brighter for generations to come.
This toolkit includes recent examples of Climate Adaptation Plans and information includes strategic directions to apply to the City of Houston as a model.
The Galveston Bay Report Card is a citizen-driven, science-based grading system supported by Houston Endowment and the EPA Gulf of Mexico Program.