Armed with mobile weather stations, three research teams from the Province of East Flanders went on a climate mission through East Flanders. In 3 selected pilot areas (Merelbeke, Eeklo and Zelzate) they perform objective measurements of heat stress. At the same time, they question passers-by about their heat experiences. Their mission is part of the European Interreg 2 Seas project “Cool Towns”, of which the Province of East Flanders is part.

Measuring is knowing

The research teams are testing various measures that reduce heat stress. Heat stress measurements are carried out both in East Flanders and in various neighboring countries. This involves measuring before and after the introduction of a heat-fighting measure. This way the effect of the measure becomes clear. Today’s measurements are therefore a first important step.

Measures that reduce the heat stress are: softening, greening, with shade and cooling water elements. The measurements were taken on warm days from 25 ° C, preferably in clear skies, and at the hottest time of the day, between 12 and 16 hours.

Heat stress in cities and municipalities

The many paved surfaces and connected buildings in cities and municipalities retain heat for longer. As a result, the temperatures in cities and municipalities are higher than in the countryside. During hot periods this can cause heat stress: there is insufficient opportunity to cool down and the heat is becoming increasingly unbearable.

Cities and municipalities currently lack essential knowledge and tools to make their squares, streets and buildings heat-resistant. That is why the Province of East Flanders is participating in the “Cool Towns” project, which will provide local authorities with tools to take efficient heat measures.

Heat control plans and climate adaptation

The results of the Cool Towns project are integrated into the municipal climate adaptation plans and incorporated into the project advice to municipalities for neighborhood renovation. They are also included in the renovation advice that the Sustainable Living and Building Support Center provides to private individuals.

Deputy Riet Gillis (Climate and energy): “We want to encourage municipalities and cities to pay attention to the heat problem as part of climate adaptation with more attention for quality green and water, among other things. But private individuals, companies and other organizations can also contribute by heat-resistant (re) building, by consciously opting for more greenery and less hardening, by planting more trees and greening facades, etc. ”