Mitigating Urban Heatwaves: Strategies for Cooling Cities


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IoT technology, for instance, has proven to make a huge difference in the way facilities operate. However, it hasn’t been used to explore climate control, and that’s an area with huge potential, as it can change how we cope with climate change.

Here’s why: by integrating an IoT device with a building, we can identify energy usage that’s not essential for optimum performance. Once this becomes clear, the technology can then modulate this consumption at set times throughout the day, reducing carbon emissions. Ultimately, this helps improve the general climate and stop extreme spikes like we experienced.

The scheme is slowly getting picked up by more businesses, which is great news as it means a collaborative, fully sustainable electricity network is being established. This is unprecedented in our country.

It’ll be very interesting to see more properties across the region adopt the technology, as a wider roll out entails greater connectivity. In exchange, we reduce an increasing amount of carbon emissions, which’ll cool down the planet and evaporate less water. Naturally, this process reduces the likelihood of a next heatwave.

The Climate Change Committee found that CO2 emissions of buildings made up 18% of the UK’s total emissions in 2019. Planting trees to make up for the environmental impact of keeping the aircon on all day won’t be enough. In fact, the whole idea of afforestation is an unreliable way of permanently sequestering atmospheric carbon, according to experts.

Businesses should make a greater contribution –  reduce CO2 emissions once and for all. Besides, the scheme will only ease pressure on energy bills.

There’s lots of short term approaches and technology out there that can help cities and individuals stay cool. However, the question should really be how can we prevent a heatwave, rather than survive during it.

Climate technology needs to become the absolute priority in the tech space, and given the benefits AI-powered DSR programmes are providing across the country, these schemes should be seen as the true solution to keeping cities cool.

To date, DSR programmes have been excluded from plans to reach net zero, which arguably is the reason why we’re no way near to achieve targets. It’s time for the government to put this scheme at the centre of the updated net zero strategy that has to be presented next year. After all, we’re talking about a privately funded, cost effective solution to tackle otherwise inaccessible CO2 emissions.

There’s already many initiatives in place, but the truth is that it will take many years for these to be implemented with the appropriate budget. If we’re to continue going down this path, it’ll become increasingly likely that the next few years go by and no true climate action is taken.

Instead of waiting for short-term handouts from the government to cope with rising energy costs, we should demand greater education from the government on long-term DSR programmes, as it’ll ultimately enable businesses to reduce costs and emissions – all at the same time.

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