The phenomenon of urban heat islands (UHI) in cities is both a cause and consequence of the climate emergency. Their impacts are felt in the social, health, ecological and economic spheres. This is a phenomenon driven primarily by a dense and ever-expanding built environment coupled with the intensification of human activities. As they create microclimates in all densely built-up cities, UHIs are not a concern for hot countries alone.
Since 2011, Veolia has been working to develop urban cooling solutions to give cities the diagnostic tools and monitoring solutions they need. 2016 saw these services enter full-scale commercial operation for the first time.
The idea is to offer short-, medium- and long-term solutions to reduce local vulnerabilities. Veolia’s solutions also include Climate Design decision-support tools and strategy recommendations for mitigating the impact of UHIs in urban developments. They also make it possible to design, build and operate urban cooling installations that use recovered non-drinking water to create cooling islands in towns and cities.
In the southern French city of Nice, Veolia operates a combination of cooling solutions that have been designed into public spaces at a new multimodal transit hub. The key here lies in the use of two cooling solutions: 250 square meters of evaporative sidewalks at tramway stops and 300 sq. m of road humidifiers, all connected to the city’s raw water distribution network. Even before the next survey of readings scheduled for summer 2019, the September 2018 survey already indicated a 5–6°C fall in the perceived temperature in the test area.