2 questions for… Hubert Kieken, Climate Director at Egis
- by C21 France La rédaction
- 2022-11-23 00:00:00
Territories, cities and infrastructures must arm themselves today to face the climate challenges of tomorrow. However, how can effective resilience strategies be developed to protect buildings when faced with increasing climatic hazards such as droughts, floods, heat and cold waves, fires or storms ? To find out more, here is an interview with Hubert Kieken, Climate Director of the international group Egis, which specialises in consulting, construction engineering and operation.
What is your definition of resilience at Egis?
The vocation of Egis is to improve the quality of life of citizens in their territory, but also to ensure the sustainability of cities and infrastructures. Whatever the collective efforts to limit global warming, we must today – and even more so tomorrow – address the impacts of climate change. This is true for Egis' activities in infrastructure engineering and operation. In 2022, we experienced millennial floods, a snowstorm in a hot country and terrible fires on some of our infrastructures. In each case, these events concern not only our infrastructures, but also the entire territory they serve: it is therefore at this level that we must act.
Our ambition is to respond to this emergency. We want to ensure that all our support, advice, expertise and design missions now integrate the vision of tomorrow’s climate. This ambition requires acquiring specific tools, methods and data, but also working with customers to make them aware of the situation.
In concrete terms, we have set ourselves the following objective: by 2030, all our projects will integrate data on the future climate. This represents thousands of projects and nearly 20,000 employees to train... It's a huge challenge.
With what concrete tools do you respond to this need for resilience?
One of the tools we have deployed is called the ICEtool. It makes it possible to characterize and evaluate the phenomenon of urban heat islands (UHI). This phenomenon affects all cities that function as thermal traps, resulting in increasing temperatures as one enters urbanised areas. Published in open source, ICEtool offers a simple and accessible method for everyone to meet this challenge in urban development projects. Reducing heat islands involves combining the albedo (the ability of materials to reflect the sun's rays), the urban layout, the vegetation, the shadows cast or the circulation of air masses.
More broadly, we are equipping ourselves with a range of tools and methods to support all the players in the territory in their overall approach to adapting to climate change. You have to ask yourself the right questions at the right time, and avoid what experts call "maladaptation". If we wait and do nothing, adaptation may become impossible or extremely costly. If we intervene too quickly and too forcefully, we risk investing in inappropriate solutions.
The best approach is often to include adaptation in the life cycle of investments in an infrastructure or in a territory. We must also question the solutions envisaged on a global scale: do these solutions positively affect the resilience of the territory or not? The best adaptation strategies will therefore be collective, to implement systemic and global approaches.
To learn more about the use of ICEtool, discover the case study of the Redevelopment of the CartoRhin wasteland.
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Interview by Amandine Martinet, Construction21 as part of the Green Solutions Awards 2022-2023 sponsorship
Translation by Audrey Leblond