Inner-city test ground for a sustainable living environment

Location

Main location: Amsterdam, The Netherlands

About

Warm episodes such as heat waves increase the risk of developing heat-related illnesses, like heat strokes. The number of people exposed to extreme heat grows because of urbanisation and climate change. Our research question is: How will urbanisation and climate change together affect summertime indoor air temperatures in Amsterdam (The Netherlands) and other European cities? To answer this question, the I-CHANGE team from the Wageningen University & Research, Meteorology and Air Quality Section, together with the Amsterdam Institute of Advanced Metropolitan Solutions (AMS Institute) will set up a living lab with local communities in Amsterdam. In the living lab we monitor and study the spatiotemporal character of indoor and outdoor atmospheric parameters that influence citizen’s health, like urban thermal comfort and air quality. We will explain the differences in indoor temperatures between residences by factors related to neighbourhood design, building architecture and residents’ behaviour. Moreover, we will collaborate with existing initiatives and engage with citizens into finding climate adaptation interventions together needed to make cities healthy places to live. The measurement network of the living lab adds on to our already operational network of 24 weather stations across Amsterdam, and a flux tower measuring sensible heat, evapotranspiration and CO2 flux. In heatwaves we add field campaigns with sodar, tricycle and balloon observations. Have look at this video about one of our field campaigns at the Dam in Amsterdam.

Monitoring activities

In the Amsterdam Living Lab we will monitor temperature, humidity and CO2 concentrations inside about 100 homes in Amsterdam. The homes will be selected to include citizens that feel hot and uncomfortable at home during heat waves. Are you living in Amsterdam and interested to volunteer in hosting a weather station in your house? Have a look at the “How to participate” section further down this page and contact us via email. With the temperature measurements and other collected data, we can explain the correlation between indoor and outdoor temperatures like we have done in past research. One of our research goals is to develop a physical model that includes the most important mechanisms to predict the changes in a residence’s indoor temperatures. Furthermore, we will explore whether the temperatures can also be related to energy consumption of households, like heating in winters and the likelihood citizens will install air conditioning which is high power consuming in summers.

 Our hypotheses are that indoor air temperatures during heat waves are likely to be higher in homes:

  • In neighbourhoods with a lack of vegetation and other cooling features
  • That have low energy labels
  • Of low-income households
  • With residents who cannot effectively block out sunlight and prevent the outside’s warm air of getting inside

Background

The main effects of climate change for Amsterdam are the increase in frequency of urban heat load, extreme precipitation and droughts. As a consequence, the power demand and production will change too. The number of people exposed to extreme heat is growing due to urbanisation and climate change. According to the KNMI’14 climate scenario’s (Klein Tank, Beersma et al. 2014), the number of summer days (Tmax ≥ 25 °C) in the Netherlands will increase from on average of 25 days in the current climate to 50 ±15 days in 2085 (de Nijs, Bosch et al. 2019). Heatwaves will increase in frequency and duration and tropical days (Tmax ≥ 30 °C) and hot nights will also become more frequent. The warmer and longer these warm and humid episodes are, the more negatively it impacts human thermal comfort and thus on human health, wellbeing and labour productivity. Certain groups are more vulnerable to heat-related illness and death, such as the elderly, children, people with chronic health disorders and people with lower incomes (Keith and Meerow 2022). Therefore, our Amsterdam living lab focuses on urban heat and will try to explain and map it. These results can be used, for example, by urban designers and planners to build more healthy cities. Also, from the measurements we can give advices to citizens and help them to keep cool during heatwaves.

References:

  • de Nijs, T., P. Bosch, E. Brand, B. Heusinkveld, F. van der Hoeven, C. Jacobs, L. Klok, J. Kluck, A. Koekoek, S. Koopmans, K. van Nieuwaal, R. Ronda and G. Steeneveld (2019). Ontwikkeling Standaard Stresstest Hitte. Bilthoven, The Netherlands: 1-130.
  • Keith, L. and S. Meerow (2022). PAS Report 600: Planning for Urban Heat Resilience. Chicago, USA: 1-99.
  • Klein Tank, A., J. Beersma, J. Bessembinder, B. van den Hurk and G. Lenderink (2014). KNMI ’14: climate scenarios for the Netherlands: a guide for professionals in climate adaption. De Bilt, The Netherlands: 1-34.

Environmental areas we address

Climate Action, Extreme Events, Energy Consumption 

How to participate?

If you are interested to become part of our living lab? Have a look at our flyer and contact us via email.
For more information, please scan the QR code or click on this link.

Also, if you would like to become a stakeholder or partner in our research, please contact us via email.

Contact

Esther Peerlings, Wageningen University & Research
Gert-Jan Steeneveld, Wageningen University & Research

Email: contact_amsterdamlivinglab@ichange-project.eu

More information

  • The weather station that we will install in the homes of the living lab participants: Smart Weather Station Indoor Outdoor | Netatmo
  • The weather stations are used throughout the world. On this map you can see all measurements: Netatmo Weathermap.
  • Have look at this video about one of our field campaigns at the Dam in Amsterdam: Launching weather balloons from Amsterdam for 24 hours, measuring the urban climate.
  • The climate trend in physiological equivalent temperature (PET) is increasing. This showyourstripes graph below shows the number of yearly hours when PET exceeds the stress threshold of 23ºC between 1951-2020 in Amsterdam. It is getting more and more red in recent years! What will the #future bring?

Contact

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This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 101037193.