Reus will create a network of climatic shelters in patios and plots against heat waves
A network of climate shelters, urban spaces designed to take shelter in unfavorable weather situations, will protect Reus citizens from heat waves. The City Council will select courtyards and lots of municipal facilities, both interior and exterior, to enable them, planting vegetation, placing signage and drafting the specific rules of use. Reus suffers a heat wave every four years and its frequency "is increasing exponentially", as stated in the Action Plan for Sustainable Energy and Climate (PAESC) that the government has just approved and that details 33 actions for mitigation and another 11 for adaptation to climate change. The temperature in the city will have risen 1.4 degrees by 2050.
The PAESC recalls that "these heat waves are especially serious in segments of the population that are more vulnerable due to their socioeconomic status, their very young or very late age, their health condition or their environment." Hence the need to give rise to a first network of shelters "so that the neighbors can take shelter."
Based on the experiences of other cities, the City Council will assess the suitability of public buildings, starting with those it owns. It will analyze the conditions of vegetation, insulation, temperature, water, benches or accessibility, as well as the maximum capacity to accommodate people. It will also look at the economic situation of the residents in the surroundings, the size of the houses – the smaller, the more free space needs – and their year of construction – the older, the less comfort. These studies will include the costs of revegetation and start-up, and proposals for citizen participation.
In parallel, as specified by the PAESC, the City Council will approve a heat wave shock plan with the most immediately activatable shelters, as well as a short, medium and long-term strategy to protect the most vulnerable population. And, in addition, it will process an ordinance that will regulate these shelters, their use, maintenance and improvements for the future, as well as the disclosure of their start-up. The intention is for the network to be up and running in 2030. The investment in the Pla de Refugis Climàtics, without execution, would be close to 30,000 euros.
When consulted in this regard, the president of GEPEC, Xavier Jiménez, explains that "in the face of climatic extremes, shelters provide cities with friendly spaces with vegetation, comfortable and in which the temperature is lower for people to spend time" . "They are necessary but they are not the only thing", he adds, and says that "what Reus must do is change the paradigm, have more green areas, with land instead of asphalt and trees in the streets and squares, so that all the city is a climatic shelter.
But the Plan d'Acció per l'Energia Sostenible goes much further. The councilor for the Environment, Daniel Rubio, states that the PAESC "groups initiatives that seek to reduce greenhouse gases, access to green and sustainable energy and its transition to citizenship, and preparation, even at the infrastructure level, to fight against climate change.
Rubio specifies that the actions listed "have been worked on transversally, not only from Medi Ambient but through other departments such as Education, Public Roads or Urbanism". In this way, it will intervene "for example, in municipal buildings and facilities, the service sector, public transport, lighting, residential issues, waste management, water management... And from all these areas multiple lines have emerged to develop as a city.
The councilor lists some of them, and points out that they range “from promoting the rehabilitation of public and private buildings with own and external financing, improving windows or insulation; going through the renewal of the municipal fleet; to changes in lighting and LED traffic lights and presence detectors». This last system "has already been implemented in the Mercat Central offices and is positive for not keeping the entire plant on when there are fewer workers," he specifies.
A mainstay of the Pla will be the placement of photovoltaic panels, an advance that is being very well received in the city, also thanks to the talks promoted by the City Council. In these meetings, "we have been able to serve a thousand neighbors", specifies Rubio, who says that "we are the first city in the province and the seventh in Catalonia in terms of photovoltaic installation" and that "we receive about 20 weekly requests for discounts from the IBI linked to plates».
Another of the actions contained in the PAESC consists of promoting mechanisms for the purchase of 100% renewable energy, with the aim that all businesses and companies in the tertiary sector consume it by 2030. The Pla specifies that the contracting of energy rates green to marketers is a good way to guarantee that energy comes from renewable sources, reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The City Council will develop a campaign in this sense, carry out market studies and offer assistance for the review of contracts and powers. This would mean a saving of about 49,250 tons of CO2 per year. The government foresees an investment of 30,000 euros per year.
On the other hand, the municipal impulse has been projected to eight neighborhoods considered vulnerable. It is estimated that the rehabilitation of 900 homes per year is necessary in these areas of the city, which would add 7,200 homes by 2030. The in-depth rehabilitation interventions have an average cost of around 20,000 euros per floor and, given the characteristics of these areas, it is estimated an aid intensity of around 70%. The consistory will prepare the preliminary projects and the rest of the support will be done through the Neighborhood Office, a single window oriented to reforms. It will be necessary to resort to European and state financing.
The PAESC brings together the actions that the City Council undertakes to comply with the commitments of the Pacte dels Mayors i Alcaldesses pel Clima i l'Energia, and wants to reduce greenhouse gases by 55%. Its actions represent a global budget of 13,918,910 euros.