Water and technology join forces to adapt to climate change in Seville

Life Watercool - 25 January, 2022

Lourdes Uquillas

Sevilla, 26 ene (EFE).- Technology and water play a key role in creating comfortable spaces for people in the works of the LIFE Watercool climate change adaptation project being developed in Seville, explains Professor José Sánchez Ramos.

Technology and water in climate adaptation

Sánchez Ramos, a professor at the University of Seville (US), works with a group of engineers led by Professor Servando Álvarez Domínguez in the university center that is in charge of the technological development of the LIFE Watercool project (LIFE18 CCA/ES/001122) co-financed by the European Union.

The US professor explains in an interview with EFE that in the works of the project being developed in the Avenida de la Cruz Roja-Ciudad Saludable and surrounding streets has been introduced “an infrastructure of district heating and cooling (“district cooling and heating”)” that has an energy storage system with two subway cisterns located in the square in front of the school Arias Montano.

Adaptation and climatic comfort 

The project combines “total climate adaptation and comfort,” he explains, adding that the aim is for neighbors to enjoy life in the street again, for buildings to benefit from energy and technology, and for public space to serve as “the seed of a broader concept of energy community, not just as a support for installations.

The project contemplates climate adaptation in three places – called short, medium and long term – which are: a bus stop, a space with a pergola in the Arias Montano school and the square in front of the school.

Water and technology

Red Cross Avenue. EFE/Jose Manuel Vidal

Thanks to a storage system with two cisterns of 50 cubic meters capacity and a pumping system, the water will be cooled at night with a whole mechanism on the roof of the Arias Montano school and during the day it will be used to produce fresh air on a bench at ground level in the square and in the bioclimatic stop located in the neighboring street Manuel Villalobos, which through a radiant system will provide a cool surface in summer and warm in winter.

In addition, fresh water will be used in a pergola in the school to produce fresh air, but it will also generate dynamic solar control and a cool surface for the occupants.

The three pilot rooms of the LIFE Watercool project aim to “improve habitability in a way that is not possible with conventional construction work,” explains the professor.

The objective is to “make an intensive treatment” in the three pilot rooms in which comfort levels similar to those inside a building are guaranteed, for a duration of activities close to two or three hours in some of them”.

Reducing the temperature

According to Sánchez Ramos, the concept of climatic comfort has several pillars: the first is to block the sun in summer, and this is achieved with a second pillar in the bioclimatic stop with the canopy cover, where to generate a cold surface a radiant element is introduced into the structure and through whose tubes water circulates, creating “a very high quality shade”, with a “cool enveloping surface”.

The third pillar, says the US professor, is to neutralize the hot air in summer in Seville, where temperatures can reach over 37 degrees, for which the aerodynamic design of a fountain in the square will be used to divert the hot air above the occupants of the room acting as a barrier to create a confinement area and together with the cool air that will be generated in a bench located in the same area, will reduce the thermal conditions to 27-28 degrees.

In addition, substantial vegetation will be increased in the square with young trees, however, to help create shaded areas until they reach a sufficient size, “trees with prosthesis” have been devised from which “the petals” of these “kind of umbrellas” can be removed, thus creating “an area of adaptive shade”.

According to Sánchez Ramos, the square will have these three elements for the creation of climatic comfort: the fountain, the benches and the tree-shaped structures.

Cooling system

The cooling system on the roof of the Arias Montano school building will consist of placing a pergola with movable slats, with polycarbonate photovoltaic panels underneath, over which cool water is poured so that “the visual aspect is that you see the sky over a cool surface because above is the transparent polycarbonate sheet, cool water and the slats”.

In the photovoltaic panels where the water sheet will be generated, the radiant effect with the sky and the evaporation with the air, will allow the water to go from 25-26 degrees to 15-16 degrees every night, and will achieve the availability in the morning of a “large volume of fresh water”, which “rationalizing it will be used in the different rooms”, including the school, “where the coverage has to be unique” because it must ensure that there is both summer and winter ability to adapt to the sun.

The pergola will also have a system of fresh air production through the use of the water itself that will drive it with nozzles, leaving a feeling of comfort by blocking the sun, ie an area that will be “naturally heated”.

Public space and energy community

Red Cross Avenue. EFE/Jose Manuel Vidal

The initial concept in joint work with Emasesa was that the public space not only serve as a support for facilities, but “as the seed of a broader concept of energy community,” concludes the professor of the US.

In this case, the public space serves as an energy storage system with the cisterns and, similarly, “at any time, just as a bus stop could be connected to a building, an easy option to implement and with a radiant floor, for example”.

This public building serves as a support for renewable energy generation facilities, and statistics say that of all the annual generation produced, only 10-15% is consumed, according to Sánchez Ramos.

This project “has served as an excuse” for the installation of an element that produces much more energy than is consumed, “which could be a seed” to enter inside the building (of the school) not only with water but also with electricity, and even share it with the surrounding buildings or with electric mobility.

Innovation and replicability

Sánchez Ramos stresses that all the innovations and applications of the LIFE Watercool project can be replicated in any other public or private space or building.

In addition, “the innovations have been collected by a public company, which breaks down the barriers that would prevent any innovative solution from being replicated, because in this case it has to be economically profitable and can be done by anyone”.

The expert adds that for this, the project is analyzing other areas of Seville and how these solutions could be replicated in other buildings, but it is also working with Porto (Portugal) and the Greek cities of Athens and Thessaloniki and cities that have these problems of extreme temperatures in summer.

Because “these solutions can be adapted to housing, in the blocks or districts that are being built, where it is very easy to use the public space surrounding these buildings to make this type of treatments”, so that life in the street is recovered.

He recalls that this type of solutions were implemented in Ensanche de Vallecas, where this type of “prosthesis” was also made, allowing the occupants of the dwellings to be beneficiaries of these innovations either as demanders of hot or cold water or beneficiaries of the energy that is produced.

Sustainable solutions

These are totally sustainable solutions and with an integration between the building and the public space that “was something that has never been well resolved, because the building has been taken as the protagonist and in the public space have been added pergolas as photovoltaic for bicycles, but there was no overall benefit as in this case that the beneficiaries are the neighbors of the district and the students of the school.”

Adaptation and climatic comfort are totally combined, concludes the professor of the University of Seville. EFE


The contents of this document reflect the views only of the authors and the European Union/EASME is not responsible for the use of its contents.
the European Union/EASME is not responsible for any use that may be made of the information contained herein.
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About LIFE18 CCA/ES/001122 

Water efficient systemic concept for climate change adaptation in urban areas.

Life Invasaqua is co-financed by the EU under the Life initiative and coordinated by Emasesa. This European project aims to: develop and test innovative solutions to cope with high temperatures, both outdoors and indoors, and with temporary water runoff and drought situations in an urban environment subject to climate change.

Partners: Emasesa, Alten, AgenciaEFE (@efeverde), Ayuntamiento de SevillaUniversidad de Sevilla




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