Climate change - rising temperatures are a challenge
Climate change is having a significant impact on the environment and on people. The average temperature in Switzerland has already risen by around 2 degrees Celsius in the last 150 years. This results, among other things, in more frequent heat waves and dry summers with sometimes serious consequences for nature and society. By 2035, the number of heatwave days in Swiss cities and in densely populated areas of the valleys and the Central Plateau will increase by about 10.
The increasing heat stress caused by so-called "heat islands" in Switzerland's cities and agglomerations represents a threat to the health of the population. Such heat islands arise because the, often black, asphalt of the streets absorb and store a lot of solar energy during the day which is then released overnight. Densely built-up areas therefore cool down less at night than the surrounding rural areas.
Cool pavements and their benefits
To counteract the development of such heat islands, special cool pavements can be installed instead of normal road surfaces. These heat up less when the sun is shining, as they have a brighter surface and thus reflect a greater proportion of the sun's energy. The pavements can have an additional effect due to their large pore spaces, which allow for greater cooling at night. Walking on such surfaces is also much more pleasant and less dangerous for animals.
G+P recognised the potential of cool pavements early on. Based on current knowledge from international research, G+P has therefore developed new technologies in a pilot project in cooperation with the innovative construction company Weibel AG that meet the requirements of Swiss standards. Although there are already road surfaces with brighter surfaces today, there has hardly been any systematic scientific examination of them in Switzerland.
Innovative pilot project and application-oriented basic research
The pilot project included a lot of application-oriented basic research: for example, the development of formulations for possible cool pavements and various analyses of the practical application of cool pavements regarding construction, costs, maintenance and noise effects. Relatively quickly, various types of pavements were installed at several traffic-intensive locations and their properties were measured as part of a comprehensive impact control. The resulting data are continuously processed, evaluated and analysed.
Thanks to its strong focus on research and development in the field of cool pavements, G+P has succeeded in launching a pioneering pilot project for Switzerland and, at the same time, in contributing to counteracting the development of heat islands in densely built-up areas with new innovations. Especially in the building and infrastructure sector, new, progressive approaches offer great added value. Since these are often objects with a long service life, they urgently need to be adapted to the needs of the future.