Reducing the impact of heat waves in Milwaukee WI

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Information about Reducing the impact of heat waves in Milwaukee WI

Published on February 21, 2014

Author: VeitFelipe



Report on measures to reduce the impact of heat waves in Milwaukee WI

THE  OPEN  UNIVERSITY  UK  _  PHIL  VEIT  ©  ALL  RIGHTS  RESERVED               Measures  to  reduce  the   impact  of  heatwaves  in   Milwaukee,  WI       Figure  1  –  City  of  Milwaukee       1    

THE  OPEN  UNIVERSITY  UK  _  PHIL  VEIT  ©  ALL  RIGHTS  RESERVED     Contents   CONTENTS     1. Introduction  and  definitions               4   1.1 Heatwaves                 4   1.2 Urban  Heat  Island                 4   1.3 Decentralised  energy  systems             4   1.4 Renewable  energy  sources             5   Making  the  case             5         5   2.2 Climate  change  and  Heatwaves  effects  in  cities         5   2.3 Vulnerable  population         6   2.4 The  importance  of  the  authority  as  a  role  player     2.       7   Proposed  actions         2.1 Cities  and  its  importance  for  sustainability   3.                 7   3.1 Reshaping  urban  environments             7   3.2 People  and  organizations:  Adapting  to  new  behavioral  patterns   8   3.3 Measures  for  reduction  of  carbon  emissions         8   3.4 Implementation  of  the  proposal             10   3.5 Benefits  and  possible  disadvantages           11   4. Conclusion                   11   5. References                   12   6.        Figures                                                                                            12                         2    

THE  OPEN  UNIVERSITY  UK  _  PHIL  VEIT  ©  ALL  RIGHTS  RESERVED   1.         Introduction,  facts  and  definitions   According   to   the   US   census   (2011)   Milwaukee   is   the   most   populated   city   in   the   state   of   Wisconsin,   eastern   part   of   the   north-­‐central   United   States   of   America,   with   597,867   inhabitants.   With   regular   temperatures   varying   from   -­‐8°C   (minimum   average)  and  26°C  (maximum  average)  (The  Weather  Chanel,  2013),  the  city  already   suffered   consequences  of  abnormal  temperatures  caused  by  heatwaves.  In  July  1995   temperatures   of   up   to   39.5°C   were   registered   and   91   deaths   were   reported   to   be   related   to   the   heat   wave   (CDC,   1996).   This   report   aims   to   present   solutions   to   Milwaukee’s  City  Council  on  how  to  reduce  the  impact  and  frequency  of  heatwaves.   It  begins  by  looking  at  key  concepts  explored  in  the  following  sessions  which  will  (1)   evaluate  how  heatwaves  affect  cities  and  (2)  suggests  measures  to  be  implemented   for  the  reduction  of  heatwaves  consequences  and  likelihood.   1.1 1.2   1.3 1.4 Map  of  Milwaukee        Figure  2  –  USA  Map  with  Milwaukee     Heatwaves     Heatwaves   are   prolonged   periods   of   abnormal   hot   and   humid   weather   and   are  among  the  most  deadly  of  all  weather  events.     Urban  Heat  Island  (UHI)   UHI   reflect   the   limitations   of   a   city   to   maintain   cooler   temperatures   during   warm  seasons.  UHI  will  be  further  discussed  in  session  2.     Decentralised  energy  systems   In  a  decentralised  energy  system  the  energy  production  facilities  are  located   closer   to   consumption   sites   (e.g.   industrial   parks   and   residential   areas).   This   approach   is   a   key   component   for   reducing   carbon   footprint   in   cities   as   it   is   proposed  later  in  session  3.   3    

THE  OPEN  UNIVERSITY  UK  _  PHIL  VEIT  ©  ALL  RIGHTS  RESERVED   1.5   Renewable  energy  sources   Renewable  energy  sources  can  be  continually  replenished  such  as  wind,  sun,   waves  and  geothermal  heat  among  others.  Session  3  will  further  explore  this   alternative.     2.   Making  the  case     2.1   Cities  and  its  importance  for  sustainability   According  to  the  United  Nations  (2011),  52%  of  the  world’s  population  lives  in   cities.   The   Urban   lifestyle   lead   by   sophisticated   consumption   patterns,   contrary  to  what  is  observed  in  rural  areas  is  very  demanding  in  terms  of  use   of  resources.  In  Creating  Sustainable  Cities,  Herbert  Girardet  argues  that  cities   and   towns   use   three-­‐quarters   of   the   resources   available   in   the   world   and   produce   three-­‐quarters   of   the   world’s   waste   (Girardet,   1999,   p.13   cited   in   Blackmore,  2009,  p.127).   Another   aspect   to   be   considered   relates   to   cities   driving   the   transition   to   sustainable  development.   Initiatives   taken   by   the   authorities   in   Milwaukee   may  positively  impact  other  smaller  cities  such  as  Madison,  the  second  largest   population  in  Wisconsin  with  the  deployment  of  ‘green’  initiatives.   2.2   Climate  change  and  Heatwaves  effects  in  cities   As   the   web-­‐portal   (2011)   says,   heatwaves   are   particularly   harmful   in   cities   because   of   the   high   concentration   of   people   in   small   places   who   suffers   with   the   consequences   of   the   Urban   Heat   Island   effect  (UHI)  caused  by  a  series  of  factors:   • • • • The  replacement  of  natural  environments  which  were  originally  filled   with  vegetation  by  buildings  or  pavement  affects  the  land’s  capacity  of   providing  shade  and  retaining  water  from  the  rains.   Little   vegetation   or   evaporation   causes   cities   to   remain   warmer   than   the  surrounding  countryside.   Cities  are  quite  often  built  in  vertical  format  making  it  difficult  for  the   air  to  circulate  and  cool  the  area.   Materials   such   as   concrete   and   metals   that   are   largely   used   in   city’s   structures   absorb   more   heat   during   the   day   releasing   it   during   the   night  when  the  effects  of  the  heatwaves  are  higher.   4    

THE  OPEN  UNIVERSITY  UK  _  PHIL  VEIT  ©  ALL  RIGHTS  RESERVED   • The   high   concentration   of   households,   workplaces   and   vehicles   emitting  heat  from  different  sources  (e.g.  air  conditioning  systems  and   engines)  in  relatively  small  areas.     Figure  3  –  Heat  wave  map  with  Milwaukee’s     area  highlighted.     Another  impact  of  heatwaves  observed  in  cities  relates  to  air  pollution  and  is   known  as  summer  smog.  A  harmful  combination  of  ozone,  nitrogen  dioxides   and  volatile  organic  compounds  (particulates)  are  caused  by  emissions  from   sources  that  burn  fossil  fuels.  In  today’s  cities  motorized  vehicles  are  the  main   cause  of  summer  smog.   Figure  4  –  summer  smog  in     Los  Angeles       2.3   Vulnerable  population   Adler  et  al  (2010)  says  that  the  vulnerable  are:   The  elderly:  Due  to  illness  conditions,  use  of  heat-­‐sensitive  medications,   reduced  mobility  and  cognitive  conditions.   • Children:   The   limited   body   mass   makes   the   children   very   sensitive   and   the   increase   rates   of   pollution   are   a   common   cause   of   deaths   due   to   respiratory  problems.     • Chronically   ill:   In   increased   temperatures   people   with   preexisting   conditions   like   diabetes   and   heart   disease   are   vulnerable   due   to   the   weaker  body  condition.   •  Low-­‐income   and   other   excluded:   They   have   no   access   to   sources   to   relief  heatwaves  or  even  sources  of  information  increases  the  effects  of   heatwaves.     • 5    

THE  OPEN  UNIVERSITY  UK  _  PHIL  VEIT  ©  ALL  RIGHTS  RESERVED   2.4   The  importance  of  the  Authority  as  a  role  player   Governments  have  the  power  of  legitimacy  to  influence  and  engage  different   areas  of  society  from  consumers  to  private  companies  and  within  its  political   spheres.   In   order   to   tackle   environmental   problems,   political   will   is   of   fundamental   importance   as   a   structured   plan   involves   managing   a   complex   web  of  political,  economic  and  social  interests  and  investments.       3.   Proposed  Actions     3.1            Reshaping  Milwaukee’s  Urban  Environment     The  main  characteristic  of  urban  ecosystems  relates  to  its  ‘artificiality’.  Many   cities  including  Milwaukee  counts  with  valuable  preserved  areas  that  provides   some  cooling  effect  during  hot  weather  but  they  are  often  located  outside  the   areas   of   more   density.   The   alternative   of   ‘greening’   the   city   as   suggested   in   ‘cities  and  sustainability’  (pp.  143-­‐150,  2009)  includes:     • Urban   parks   and   trees   provides   shade   in   warmer   days   and   more   importantly   they   function   as   a   natural   air   conditioner   and   air   filter   because  of  its  capacity  of  removing  pollutants  from  the  air.     • Green  Corridors  help  to  distribute  clean  and  fresh  air  into  the  city.  In   the  case  of  Milwaukee  the  maintenance  of  the  vegetation  surrounding   the   Milwaukee   River   may   represent   a   valuable   way   for   cooling   the   city.     • Green  roofs  acts  as  an  insulator.  It  consists  in  planting  vegetation  on   top   of   houses   and   buildings   provide   among   other   benefits,   excellent   thermal   performance   in   the   summer   where   air   conditioning   systems   use  can  be  reduced.     • Green  walls,  vertical  gardens  and  vertical  farming  -­‐  In  these  systems,   different   types   of   plants   and   fruits   can   be   cultivated   using   sophisticated  methods  with  less  water  and  energy  use  in  comparison   to   traditional   agriculture   systems.   This   alternative   brings   the   farm   to   the  city  and  supports  the  reduction  of  energy  use  for  cooling  buildings.       6    

THE  OPEN  UNIVERSITY  UK  _  PHIL  VEIT  ©  ALL  RIGHTS  RESERVED       3.2            People  and  organizations:  Adapting  to  new  behavioral  patterns     The   social   impacts   caused   by   heatwaves   can   be   reduced   if   authorities   first   take  the  lead  in  organising  adequate  strategies  in  the  communications  field  by   providing   helpful   information   and   advanced   warnings   to   the   population   (Blackmore,  2009).     To  ensure  that  the  impacts  of  future  heatwaves  are  reduced,  adaptations  in   the   urban   environment   are   needed.   Organizations   must   take   the   lead   and   proactively   implement   actions   in   both   local   and   regional   scales   and   local   communities   may   take   their   part   too   (Blackmore,   2009).   Figure   6   shows   an   initiative  taken  by  the  giant  consumer  goods  producer  Unilever  in  Germany.     Figure  5:  Unilever  Hamburg   building:  Green  building   privileges  natural  light  and   cooling  sources.     3.3            Measures  for  reduction  of  carbon  emissions       Although   this   proposal   presents   a   variety   of   actions   it   is   unlikely   that   all   of   them   are   economically   and   technically   viable   at   first   instance.   Thus,   it   is   important   to   establish   priority   to   measures   that   are   more   suitable   to   the   current  capacities  of  the  city.     3.3.1 Combined  Heat  and  power  (CHP)  –  Used  in  decentralised  approaches   to   more   efficient   energy   strategies   and   also   known   as   cogeneration   system,  CHP  uses  natural  gas  to  produce  electricity  and  heat  in  areas   closer   to   the   consumer   spots   (e.g.   hospitals,   manufacturing   facilities   and   households).   Contrary   to   typical   coal-­‐fired   power   stations   that   only  produces  electricity  of  about  35%  from  the  fuel  input,  CHP  units   7    

THE  OPEN  UNIVERSITY  UK  _  PHIL  VEIT  ©  ALL  RIGHTS  RESERVED   despite   generating   around   5%   less   electricity   also   generates   useful   heat   of   up   to   50%.   The   heat   that   is   wasted   in   the   CHP   system   can   also   be   used   for   cooling   purposes   forming   a   ‘combined   cooling,   heating   and  power’  (CCHP)  system  (Boyle,  2009).         3.3.2 Renewable  energy       • • • • Solar   photovoltaic   –   This   alternative   that   directly   converts   energy   from   the   Sun   into   electricity   is   already   in   use   in   Milwaukee  Shine  program.       Solar   water   heating   (SWH)   –   Uses   the   same   concept   of   solar   photovoltaic  to  heat  systems  in  which  the  water  circulates  or  is   stored  (e.g.  storage  tank).     Passive   Solar   space   heating   -­‐   Applied   mainly   in   new   building   but   also   considered   an   advantage   in   ‘retrofitting’   of   older   buildings.   Consists   in   designing   buildings   to   retain   energy   captured  from  the  Sun.     Biofuels   –   This   clean   form   of   energy   is   produced   from   biological   material.   Ethanol   which   is   generated   mainly   from   sugarcane  is  largely  used  as  fuel  for  cars  in  Brazil.         • • Wind   energy   –   Another   alternative   available   in   Milwaukee’s   sustainability   plan,   is   generated   from   turbines   strategically   located  to  absorb  wind  converting  it  in  energy.     Small   Hydropower   –   Small   water-­‐based   systems   generate   electricity   from   water   and   can   be   an   alternative   for   communities   and   small   businesses.   As   Milwaukee’s   region   is   surrounded  by  plenty  of  water  sources  this  alternative  is  likely   to  be  feasible.     • Ground-­‐source   heat   pump   (GSHP)   –   It   Uses   energy   from   the   heated   stored   in   the   soil.   It   can   be   used   for   both   heat   and   cooling  purposes.     • Waste-­‐to-­‐Energy   (WtE)   –   Consists   in   processing   wastes   to   generate  electricity.         8    

THE  OPEN  UNIVERSITY  UK  _  PHIL  VEIT  ©  ALL  RIGHTS  RESERVED     3.3.3 Alternative  transports         The  already  running  program  of  ‘Electric  Vehicle  Charging  Stations’  of   Milwaukee  represent  an  effort  of  the  government  to  reduce  emissions   from  private  cars.  Stimulating  the  use  of  bicycles  for  transport  would   add  value  to  the  initiative.         3.4            Implementation  of  the  proposal     The   implementation   of   proposed   actions   must   concentrate   in   both   aspects   of   behavioral   and   technological   change   and   Milwaukee’s   city   council   represented   by   its   Mayor   Tom   Barret   must   lead   the   process   towards   the   continuation  and  enhancement  of  the  already  existing  sustainability  plan.    It   must   consider   sponsoring,   navigating   through   and   influencing   the   different   political,   social   and   economic   spheres.   This   consists   in   considering   the   following  factors:     • In  the  individual  sphere:  Citizens  to  act  sustainably  by  looking   to   alternative   ways   to   reduce   carbon   emissions   in   their   households,   workplaces,   local   communities   and   transport   choices   (e.g.   Installing   insulation,   driving   hybrid/electric   vehicles,  using  more  public  transport  and  cycling).  In  addition,   citizens   must   seek   to   effectively   participate   in   government’s   decisions  in  respect  of  climate  change.     • In   the   community   sphere:   Communities   and   organizations   to   embrace   a   ‘low-­‐carbon-­‐culture’   as   the   example   showed   in   session  3.2  figure  6.     • In  the  authority  and  beyond  spheres:  Milwaukee  City  Council   to   use   its   legitimacy   to   encourage   initiatives   for   reduction   of   carbon   emissions   in   local,   national   and   even   global   scales.   Internal   practices   can   be   used   as   reference   to   the   other   spheres.   Actions   like   ‘retrofitting’   the   City   Council’s   building   and  reshaping  internal  policies  of  travel  and  purchases  function   as  examples  to  be  taken  by  the  citizens  and  organizations.     9    

THE  OPEN  UNIVERSITY  UK  _  PHIL  VEIT  ©  ALL  RIGHTS  RESERVED   3.5            Benefits  and  disadvantages       • • Measures   for   ‘greening’   Milwaukee   provide   quality   of   life   to   the   population   while   being   a   natural   source   for   cooling   the   city   in   warmer   weather.   Streets   and   regions   well   developed   may   have   no   space   available   for   planting   additional   trees   and   solutions   like   green  walls  relies  on  structures  that  would  fit  its  implementation.     Combined  Heat  and  power  (CHP)  produces  energy  more  effectively   than   what   is   produced   in   larger   power   stations.   It   is   good   for   thermodynamics.  A  disadvantage  is  that  it  uses  natural  gas  which   is   a   fossil   fuel.   Renewable   wood   chips   would   be   a   good   replace   from  the  sustainability  point  of  view.     • Renewable   energy   such   as   solar   and   wind   have   a   ‘free’   input   resource  and  generally  demand  low  levels  of  energy  to  work.  Some   measures  demands  high  investments  and  political  interests  which   can  be  a  challenge  for  its  implementation.   • Energy   from   waste   in   today’s   cities   may   represent   a   great   contribution   to   the   environment   as   in   one   hand   provides   energy   while   in   the   other   reduce   the   needs   of   the   massive   use   of   resources  required  to  sustain  an  operation  of  waste  management.   It  is  however  a  costly  solution.         4.     Conclusion     This   report   has   argued   that,   historically,   the   city   of   Milwaukee   has   suffered   consequences  of  heatwaves,  and  it  has  introduced  key  concepts.    Session  2  ‘Making   the   case’   presented   evidence   on   how   the   effects   of   heatwaves   are   particularly   dangerous   in   urban   areas   by   exploring   the   Urban   Heat   Island   effect   and   its   consequences.   It   has   also   discussed   the   role   of   the   authority   in   tackling   environmental   problems.   It   then   looked   at   the   ways   heatwaves   impacts   can   be   mitigate  in  the  different  spheres  of  society  from  individuals  to  organizations  and  the   authority.         10    

THE  OPEN  UNIVERSITY  UK  _  PHIL  VEIT  ©  ALL  RIGHTS  RESERVED   5   References     United  States  Census  Bureau  -­‐  Milwaukee  (city)  QuickFacts  from  the  US  Census   Bureau,  2013  [ONLINE]  Available  at:  [Accessed  23  May  2013].   The  Weather  Chanel,  2013,  Average  Weather  for  Milwaukee,  WI  -­‐  Temperature  and   Precipitation.  [ONLINE]  Available  at:  [Accessed   23  May  2013].   CDC  –  Centers  for  Disease  Control  and  Prevention,  Heat-­‐Wave-­‐Related  Mortality  -­‐-­‐   Milwaukee,  Wisconsin,  July  1995.  2013.  Heat-­‐Wave-­‐Related  Mortality  -­‐-­‐  Milwaukee,   Wisconsin,  July  1995.  [ONLINE]  Available  at:  [Accessed  24  May   2013].   Everett,  B.,  Boyle,  G.  and  Blackmore,  R.  (2009)  ‘Cities  and  sustainability’,  U116   Environment:  journey  through  a  changing  world,  Milton  Keynes,  The  Open  University.   United   Nations,   Department   of   Economic   and   Social   Affairs,   Population   Division   (2012).  World  Urbanization  Prospects:  The  2011  Revision,  CD-­‐ROM  Edition.     URBAN  HEAT  ISLANDS  (UHIs),  2011  [ONLINE]  Available  at:  [Accessed  24  May  2013].   Adler,  M.,  Harris,  S.,  Krey,  M.,  Plocinski,  L.,  Rebecchi,  J.,  Preparing  for  heatwaves  in   Boston,  2013  [ONLINE]  Available  at: ves%20in%20Boston_tcm3-­‐31986.pdf  [Accessed  24  May  2013].   City  of  Milwaukee,  2013.  [ONLINE]  Available  at:    [Accessed  24  May  2013].     6   Figures   Figure  1:    Courtesy  of  Kimi  Sugyiama  -­‐  This  City  Sunday  -­‐  Milwaukee,  Wisconsin.  2013.   This  City  Sunday  -­‐  Milwaukee,  Wisconsin.  [ONLINE]  Available  at:­‐wisconsin.  [Accessed  23  May   2013].   Figure  2:  Google  Maps.  2013.  Google  Maps.  [ONLINE]  Available  at:  [Accessed  24  May  2013].   11    

THE  OPEN  UNIVERSITY  UK  _  PHIL  VEIT  ©  ALL  RIGHTS  RESERVED   Figure  3:  NASA  -­‐  NASA  Maps  Heat  Wave  Fueling  Wildfires  in  the  Rockies,  2013   [ONLINE]  Available  at:­‐westernUS.html.   [Accessed  23  May  2013].   Figure  4:  Aluminum  Panels  Set  To  Take  On  Pollution  As  'Smog  Eaters'  :  Shots  -­‐  Health   News  :  NPR.  2013.  Aluminum  Panels  Set  To  Take  On  Pollution  As  'Smog  Eaters'  :  Shots   -­‐  Health  News  :  NPR.  [ONLINE]  Available  at:­‐panels-­‐set-­‐to-­‐ take-­‐on-­‐pollution-­‐as-­‐smog-­‐eaters.  [Accessed  23  May  2013].   Figure  5:  World  Buildings  Directory  -­‐  Unileverhaus.  2013.  World  Buildings  Directory  -­‐   Unileverhaus.  [ONLINE]  Available  at:  [Accessed  23  May   2013].           12    

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