While over 80% of Americans will experience temperatures over 90 degrees (32C) within the next week, including in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast, sweltering heat has returned to western Europe. In some countries like France, the third wave of the summer is expected to bring temperatures of over 100 degrees Fahrenheit (37 degrees Celsius). Eight out of the last sixteen days have seen heat alerts for about 100 million Americans.
This means that hundreds of millions of people who live in urban areas are once more frantically attempting to maintain their cool. Extreme heat is becoming more often and lasting longer due to the climate issue, but cities without careful design can make life much hotter.
Although they may keep the indoors cool, air conditioners actually serve to increase the heat outside. Additionally, they are typically making the climate situation worse by increasing greenhouse gas emissions. On a hot day, public transit may be intolerable, but driving a gas-powered vehicle only makes traffic worse while increasing heat and pollutants. Lack of trees results in a lack of shade, and dark-colored buildings have hotter interiors, which calls for more air conditioning.Although it is a vicious circle, there are other options.
Here Are Some Ways That Eight Communities Are Attempting To Cool Off Over The Summer.
1. Medellín, Colombia: Grow trees on the streets, not just in Parks
On Schwarzenberg Square in Vienna, Austria, a youngster is using a cooling water feature.
The Austrian capital relies heavily on water to stay cool because, like much of Europe, many homes in Vienna lack air conditioning.
The city has cool parks with mist-spraying “trees” that people may either “shower” in or just sit near to appreciate the reduced temperatures they bring to their surroundings if they don’t have time to take a swim in the Danube.
Children are frequently seen playing in the city’s splash pools or running around in pop-up water features, which are typically hosepipes with holes punched in them, that the city government brings out on the hottest of days, including in areas like Karlsplatz, a well-known city square. Children are typically more susceptible to extreme heat than adults.
More than 1,100 water fountains are available in Vienna, which is crucial in reducing heat-related illnesses because it has a population of 1.9 million people.
“Home air conditioning may seem like a simple and fast fix. But due to the power source and the waste heat generated by the appliance, it is not a long-term sustainable solution “Added McLeod. “Therefore, it’s important to consider how to increase ventilation, make use of water features, and enable windows to open in some of the oldest structures. For high temperatures, natural treatments work well.”
3 Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates: Use old cooling techniques and modernize them
Mashrabiya is the name for the latticed screens that are frequently found in Islamic architecture and that sometimes enclose a tiny balcony. These screens diffuse light and keep buildings cool without completely obstructing it. They are made to promote a wind and provide a little break from the heat inside a building. In essence, the goal is to prevent direct sunlight from hitting a building’s façade.
Al Bahar Towers, a 25-story structure covered in more than 1,000 hexagonal shades with built-in sensors that enable them to react to the sun’s movements, was created as a result of such inspiration. The shades open up like an umbrella to block the heat when the sun hits them. Without taking these precautions, temperatures on the outside of a skyscraper like this in Abu Dhabi may get to 200 degrees around 90 Celsius.
The method has contributed to a 50% reduction in the building’s need for air conditioning.
To combat the heat, workers in Los Angeles painted a road.
This one is a bit more debatable.
To reflect sunlight and keep buildings cool, some towns have experimented with painting rooftops white, but Los Angeles went a step farther and is painting entire roads white. Asphalt and other dark materials absorb sunlight and release it as heat back into the atmosphere. Theoretically, putting white paint on the asphalt would stop the process in its tracks and result in cooler air temperatures.
The concept has some promise. According to researchers Ariane Middel and V. Kelly Turner, the method did manage to reduce the temperature of the streets by about 10 degrees. But there was a significant side effect. The extra heat radiating off the roads, according to the same experts, was probably to blame.
The white streets may make you feel cooler if you’re a few blocks away, but if you’re on the street, you can feel hotter.
LA is still running this software though to see what works and what doesn’t. Currently, CoolSeal, a grayish-white substance, is used, but it’s possible that a different kind of paint could produce different results. CoolSeal was once used to help hide grounded aircraft from satellites.
The success of painting rooftops is greater.
Results vary depending on the amount of heat and the materials used in a roof, but in places like Ahmedabad, India, where it gets extremely hot, cool roofs have reduced home heat by 3 to 8 degrees Fahrenheit. The Heat Island Group at Berkeley Lab estimates that a black roof may be up to 54 degrees (about 30 Celsius) hotter than a white roof.
The green roof is an additional choice. To cool off buildings, cities all around the world have built “gardens in the sky.”
7 Paris: Get really organized
On a hot afternoon in Paris, individuals seek refuge at the Jardin des Tuileries.
The French capital experiences extreme heat.
This summer, temperatures there have exceeded 104 degrees Fahrenheit (40 degrees Celsius), but the city’s high-rise structures, limestone landmarks, and congested asphalt roads can make it feel even hotter.
It is frequently 18 degrees hotter in the city center on a summer day than it is in the suburbs of Paris due to the city’s significant urban heat island effect.
However, Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo is credited with implementing some of the most cutting-edge heat-reduction strategies in the world, and the city’s heat plan is really all-encompassing.
A metropolis full with “cool islands” is the main outcome. The EXTREMA app allows Parisians to use a naturally cooled corridor to travel to more than 800 cool locations, such as parks, water features, and air-conditioned museums. Everyone should always be no more than a seven-minute walk from a cool island.
On hot days, Paris employs mist machines similar to Vienna. In addition to its numerous classic fountains, which are shallow pools with fountain-like effects, it also features dozens of brand-new “splash fountains.”
The most susceptible individuals are listed in a register as part of Paris’ heat strategy so that authorities can check on them by phone and give them tips on how to stay cool. Temporary air conditioners are installed in kindergarten classes, and public pools and parks are open later into the evening. The streets and sidewalks of Paris are also being “demineralized” by utilizing more porous materials, similar to LA, in an effort to reduce the heat they generate. That now seems like a plan.
8 Seville, Spain: Name your heat waves
A public fountain is used by guests in Seville, Spain.
For decades, people have given hurricanes, cyclones, and typhoons names because doing so makes people sit up and take notice. Seville, a city in southern Spain, is pioneering this strategy for dealing with heat waves.
There was a heat wave in July called Zoe.
“Naming heat waves is a good thing because it shows that we understand how dangerous they are and that they will continue to occur. It’s not just a random heatwave, “McLeod of the Arsht-Rock stated. No matter what we do with our emissions, this is something we’ll have to live with for a very long time.
Seville is doing more than just naming things, though. Arsht-Rock and Seville are developing a new classification system for heat waves based on anticipated detrimental health effects. The purpose is to link alert levels to what a heat wave is likely to do to people rather than using technical jargon that most people don’t comprehend.
Only Philadelphia’s heat warning system was successful in saving lives, according to a 2018 Brown University study of 20 heat warning systems in the United States. This is in part due to the system’s use of health-based metrics.
The finest and most practical thing you can do to combat heat, other using physical measures, is to identify and classify heat waves, according to McLeod. “Because that’s the point – heat is killing people, and people don’t realize the severity of the issue,” she said.