Why focus on sustainability?

Because the money we spend on disaster response and property restoration should be an investment in a stronger, safer, healthier, more energy efficient and environmentally responsible future. Each year U.S. property owners face billions of dollars in damages – from localized fire and water damage, to large-scale natural disasters. It all adds up to a staggering cost. But each loss, small or large, is also an opportunity restore and rebuild properties in a way that is better for public health and safety, our environment, businesses and the entire economy.

$17 billion
Total U.S. flood losses in 2016, six times greater than 2015
Extreme weather events in 2016 that each cost over $1 billion
$10.3 billion
Damage from 500,000 structure fires in the U.S. in 2015
$52 billion
National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) claims paid since 1978
$500 billion
Projected reconstruction cost for 1.8 million homes in high risk wildfire zones.
$180 billion
Losses in the last 10 years from thunderstorms and tornadoes
$1.5 trillion
Projected reconstruction cost for 6.8 million properties at risk of hurricane storm surge
Click Here
$191 billion
Projected reconstruction cost for 800,000 properties vulnerable to even the weakest category 1 hurricane
The number of 1 in 1000 year rainfall events in 2016 alone
Click Here
$156 billion
Total property losses from the 10 costliest hurricanes in U.S. history * not including NFIP claims
$1.2 trillion
cost of 203 extreme weather events in the U.S. since 1980
$10 billion
Annual homeowners losses from non-flood water damage
Previous slide
Next slide

Who Benefits?

Energy & Environment

In the US, buildings account for about 40% of energy and raw materials use, 12% of water use, and 30% of GHG emissions and waste output. Rebuilding sustainably is an opportunity to bring these numbers way down, while diverting construction and demolition waste from landfills and reducing the growing environmental footprint of natural disasters.

The American Public

The average american spends 90% of their time indoors, and 26% of their budget on housing (including utilities and property insurance). And every taxpayer is footing the bill for federal disaster relief, to the tune of $136 billion – or $400 per household annually – from 2011-2013. For the public good, we should take every opportunity to rebuild more sustainable homes, offices, schools and businesses.

The Economy

Every day fire/water damage and widespread natural catastrophes cost the economy billions each year in the form of insured and uninsured property losses, business interruption and lost productivity, public health costs, and degradation of natural capital and ecosystem services we all rely on. Sustainable disaster response and property restoration is a massive opportunity to reduce costs and increase the health and resiliency our homes, businesses, and environment. This is rebuilding for a stronger economy.

Smart Government

Public funding for energy and environmental programs is rarely linked to disaster response. Moreover, despite the rising cost of disasters and a national flood insurance program that is now over $24 billion in debt, federal assistance for resilience or “pre-disaster mitigation” has actually declined over the past decade. Let’s make sure governments at all levels are using taxpayer dollars to prepare and respond in a way that connects the dots between recovery, resiliency, and sustainability.

About the Council

SDRC’s mission is to promote sustainability in disaster response and property restoration – helping american homes, businesses and communities turn every loss into smart investments in a stronger, safer, healthier and environmentally responsible future.

SDRC brings together a diverse group of leaders who are committed to advancing best practices for sustainable disaster recovery and restoration. Our members and strategic partners represent:

  • disaster response and property restoration firms

  • large property owners & managers

  • the architecture, engineering and construction community

  • insurance and risk management

  • experts from industry trades, NGOs, academia and government

We are a registered nonprofit organization governed by a Board of Directors, with input from an Advisory Council. Membership is open to all interested parties, subject to an application that determines their commitment to advancing our mission. SDRC members collaborate in industry/stakeholder and subject matter-specific working groups to implement our programs. A network of strategic partners increases our reach and impact.


Stephen Bushnell, President

Steve oversees SDRC’s strategy, programs and day-to-day operations. He is founder and Principal of Stephen Bushnell + Associates, which advises clients on sustainability and risk management. He has over 40 years of U.S. property & casualty insurance experience – where he is widely credited for developing the first and most innovative sustainability solutions for commercial and residential property owners. Steve is a leading expert on the risk-reduction and broad environmental, social and economic benefits of sustainable buildings and communities. From 2012-2015, he served as the first and only insurance and risk management professional elected to U.S. Green Building Council National Board of Directors. In 2016, he transitioned to USGBC’s newly created Advisory Council.


Stefan Mueller, Vice President

Stefan is a Managing Director at SEM Advisors in Washington, DC – which staffs and administers the SDRC. He is an expert in organizing consulting groups and issue/advocacy coalitions that drive sustainability in the public and private sectors – and has provided strategic, program development, government affairs and other guidance to both U.S. and multi-national companies, as well as leading environmental groups and other nonprofits. He has worked extensively with various business councils and public-private partnerships focused on energy, environmental and natural resource challenges facing the insurance sector, real estate, and governments at the local, state and federal level.


Charles Schilke, General Counsel

Chuck brings nearly 30 years of real estate, corporate and environmental law experience to his position as SDRC’s general counsel. He is currently founder and CEO of InterGreen, an international real estate investment and development company specializing in energy-efficient and environmentally advanced buildings, and serves on the board of Aquicore and BG Lionstar which serve the energy efficiency and retrofit markets. Prior to launching InterGreen, Chuck spent nearly a decade as Director of the real estate program at the John Hopkins Carey School of Business and Associate Dean of the real estate masters program at Georgetown University. Before his work in academia, Chuck was a counsel in the global finance group at Cadwalader , Wickersham & Taft LLP. Prior to joining Cadwalader, Chuck advised on various real estate, environmental law and M&A transactions at other major law firms, in private practice and as in-house counsel for some of the largest FT 500 corporations. In the nonprofit sector, Chuck spent 4 years as Senior Counsel and Assistant Corporate Secretary at the American Red Cross. Chuck received undergraduate degrees from the University of Chicago and Harvard, and a JD from Cornell. Chuck is an active member of a number of real estate professional and trade associations including Urban Land Institute, where he chairs ULI’s national Public Development and Infrastructure Council and serves on ULI Washington’s subcommittees for Health and Real Estate and Construction Innovation.







SDRC features the latest expert viewpoints, research and case studies from across our members and strategic partners – creating a unique knowledge base that covers the challenges, opportunities and best-practices for sustainability in disaster response and property restoration. We also facilitate collaborative research, discussion forums and ad-hoc working groups across our members and with their broader stakeholders.


From Congress, the White House and federal agencies, to governors, state legislatures, insurance regulators and the standards and codes bodies that govern the building sector - SDRC will advocate for policies that prioritize sustainability in disaster response and property restoration. In doing so we help policymakers connect the dots between our mission and existing programs and funding for housing, infrastructure, energy, the environment, public health, and economic development.


SDRC will develop standards and a rating system to define and validate sustainability throughout the life-cycle of common disaster response and property restoration projects, and to accredit qualified products, services and professionals. We will incorporate, reference and build effective links to evolving codes, standards, labels and other programs that govern building design/operations/construction and property restoration.


SDRC education programs and professional credentials will focus on helping industry professionals build their capacity to advance sustainability in disaster response and property restoration - and help them educate and engage their respective customers and other constituencies. Education will also be available to leaders in government and civil society who can help build broad support for our mission.

Previous slide
Next slide


Please contact the council to inquire about membership, or download and submit a Membership Application.


We are a community of practice where members ask questions and find answers. Our research, case studies, expert viewpoints and standards will show how and why sustainability should be prioritized as part of smarter disaster response and property restoration.


As a member-driven association, our research, advocacy and standards development is guided by our members’ expertise. Joining the council is a way for diverse stakeholders to collaboratively define sustainable disaster response and property restoration.


SDRC connects stakeholders across the life-cycle of disaster response – including restoration and construction contractors, building product manufacturers, property owners, insurers, governments, and NGOs. Opportunities to collaborate emerge at every level – from pre-disaster plans to smarter and more sustainable restoration and reconstruction.


SDRC members may use our logo, are profiled in our member list, product/service directory, press and communications work, and have opportunities to sponsor the council’s meetings, events and publications. SDRC standards certify sustainable disaster response and property restoration projects and qualified professionals, products and services.



7/7/17 – Billion-Dollar Weather Disasters at Near-Record Pace So Far in 2017

From the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. View here.


6/19/17 – Storm Surge: How States Will Have to Step Up As Disasters Become More Frequent and Expensive

From the Pew Charitable Trusts. View here.


5/25/17 – Above-Normal Atlantic Hurricane Season is Most Likely This Year.

From the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. View here.


2/28/17 – U.S. Green Building Council joins SDRC as a founding member

From SDRC. View here.


1/19/17 – U.S. Communities Clobbered by $53 Billion in Extreme Weather and Climate Disasters in 2016

From the Center for American Progress. View here.


5/16/16 – SDRC Featured in Restoration & Remediation Magazine

From Restoration & Remediation. View here.

Save the Date

November 8-10, 2017 – Boston

Find us at Greenbuild, the world’s largest conference and expo dedicated to green building.

Contact us

Use the form below and we’ll have the right person contact you.

Sign up for our Newsletter