Eco bus stops to bring cool relief in fight against ‘urban heat island’ problem
The city of Białystok is adding new, green bus shelters that not only look good, but beat the heat, helping people keep cool during the summer.
It is a well-known fact that cities are warmer than the surrounding countryside due to human activity. Part of the reason are the dark surfaces and building materials used for roads and buildings. Cities become what is known as an “urban heat island”.
As the effects of urban heat islands are intensified by climate change, the EU is supporting projects that reduce them, which include the design of buildings and urban space.
Białystok, in eastern Poland, has responded to these challenges by announcing a tender for the metal bus stops, plus planting and maintaining greenery around them. The project is part of the Urban Climate Change Adaptation Plan prepared by city this year.
According to the city authorities, “the green bus stops mitigate the effects of climate change by lowering the temperature and reducing the phenomenon of so-called urban heat island, microclimate improvement, rainwater retention”.
The bus shelters on the Independent Students' Association Square will be surrounded by decorative grasses and perennial shrubs. Succulents and other hardy plants will grow on the metal roofs, with vines climbing up the shelters’ sides.
The green roofs will lower the temperature inside the shelters, which drawing on thousands of years of experience using greenery to insulate buildings around the world. When it rains, the shelters will retain the water, which will water the creepers growing on their sides.
The shelters will also help improve air quality, countering the effects pollution. According to the city’s authorities, the plants around the shelter could produce as much as 10 kg of oxygen per year.
“Greenery not only pleases the eye and gives shade, but also cleanses the air, which is of great importance for Bialystok’s inhabitants’ health. We want Białystok to be a green, clean and friendly city,” said the city’s deputy mayor Rafał Rudnicki.
The bus shelters are expected to be installed at the end of June or the start of July – just in time for the hottest months of the year.