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UPM applies learnt lessons in CoolToRise in the Cooltorate project funded by the Energy Poverty Advisory Hub

On January 17th in Valencia, Spain, the Technical University of Madrid (UPM) participated in the ‘1st Local Meeting on Heat: What Will We Do Next Summer?’ The objective was to share activities related to heat adaptation among local stakeholders. The event provided an opportunity to present the work conducted during the CoolTuraTE project, including training on summer fuel poverty and heat adaptation, along with its conclusions and recommendations for Valencia.

During the latter half of 2023, UPM led a Technical Assistance initiative within the Energy Poverty Advisory Hub (EPAH) for Valencia called ‘Coolturate: Training and Empowerment of Local Actors to Tackle Summer Fuel Poverty.’ The initiative aimed to train energy agents (individuals with direct contact with vulnerable households) and municipal technicians. The training content was developed collaboratively between UPM and the city council, drawing on previous experience from the CoolToRise Project.

Knowledge and experience acquired during CoolToRise project and especially during the previous training given to the Summer Energy Poverty Agents (SEPAs) was key to developing the general framework and the content of this training.  It is relevant to point out that this training was different from the SEPAs training due to the different profiles of the attendants (some of them municipal technicians) which have different needs than the SEPAs, but this is a great example of sustainability and transference potential of CoolToRise, because it has been proven that the training was needed for other entities and also easily adaptable. This adaptability is very relevant because it will allow the different profiles and needs of different entities to be covered and included in future trainings.

The training, adapted to different profiles (energy agents or municipal technicians), covered theoretical aspects of indoor and outdoor comfort during summer, methodologies to identify overheating, analysis of the Urban Heat Island, strategies for passive urban cooling, and an overview of CoolToRise activities. This last part not only helped the sustainability of CoolToRise but also its dissemination. Practical activities included multimedia evaluations of household strategies during heatwaves, collaborative cartography activities to identify hot and cool spots, and a neighbourhood walk to pinpoint hotspots.

Finally, the training ending with a final exercise related to explain and identify the experience of the trainees during a heat wave (for energy agents) or focused on the design of proposal for a vulnerable area to improve local adaptation to high temperatures.

After the development of training some recommendation were made by UPM which emphasising the need for [a] integrating various municipal departments to collectively address summer energy poverty, [b] understanding the impact of humidity, especially in humid climates, [c] systematically addressing cooling needs in at-risk neighborhoods using passive or low-energy methods, [d] having access to data on heat exposure and vulnerability for tailored actions, [e] characterizing Valencia’s Urban Heat Island through monitoring and sensor campaigns, and [f] identifying common resources as climate refuges, effectively distributed and accessible for vulnerable populations.

All of this information about the “Coolturate project” was shared and discussed during the “1st Local Meeting on Heat: What will we do next summer?” which also allowed to raise awareness of existing or planned initiatives to cope with the heat, to offer a space for reflection on concrete steps to be taken to tackle the heat next summer and advance in the definition of possible heat adaptation actions for a future revision of the Valencia Climate Agreement.

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