Solar hot water
On the roof of the Georges Rigal swimming pool, 350 sq ft (32.5m2) of thermal solar panels have been heating part of the water for the showers since 2010. They are visible from the central island. The City of Paris encourages installation of solar panels on all types of building. The Cadastre Solaire (Solar Land Register) can be viewed on the paris.fr website and identifies roofs which have the best orientation for this sort of installation. The site encourages people to consider the possible use of solar energy in the city, whether thermal (for hot water) or photovoltaic (for electricity).
One way to reduce the area's ecological footprint is to develop the share of renewable energy used.
Ivy and passion flower grow on the façade and at the base of the building. These plants provide habitats and food for small local wildlife: bees and bumblebees, spiders, snails, birds etc.
The Solar Land Register is a tool for optimising solar energy development in the urban environment. An interactive resource, it indicates the solar energy potential of each building in the capital city, giving the level of exposure to sunlight in kilowatt-hours per square metre per year (kWh/m²/year). This is calculated from a simulation of the average amount of sunlight annually and takes into account the effects of shade from buildings or trees. Thanks to the Register's colour code both private property owners and public authorities can identify the best locations in which to install solar panels. An advanced search option notably allows people to locate buildings with the best solar energy potential. The solar energy potential is considered 'good' if it is greater than 1000 kWh/m² per year.
Developed throughout the metropolitan area, more than 2500 Autolib' electric cars, more than 2,500 shared electric Autolib' cars are now available for short-duration rentals, with no obligation to return them to the same point. This new mode of transport has been developed in tune with the city and is available to all. It is a silent option with zero direct emissions (no micro-particles and no exhaust gases), as well as being practical and economical. The 3,000 cars available for hire in the Paris region represent a reduction in private car traffic estimated at 22,500 vehicles or the equivalent of 102,215,560 miles per year (164,500,000 km/year) - 4,100 times the circumference of the Earth - driven by more polluting vehicles. An alternative vehicle to private cars, it causes less pollution, fewer traffic jams and less stress.
A shaded boulevard
During this portion of the walk, the canopy of the trees provides beneficial shade along the avenue. In the summer, they cool the ambient atmosphere, especially through the transpiration of their foliage. Small amounts of water vapour escape from the little orifices - the stomata - on the underside of their leaves. This phenomenon helps limit the effect of urban heat islands.
The 20th arrondissement has nearly 4,450 avenue trees. Boulevard de Charonne is planted with plane trees and sophoras.
At the entrance to Alexandre Dumas metro station, a London plane tree (Platanus x hispanica) is conspicuous by the width of its trunk, which measures 4.15 m (13 ft) in circumference. This remarkable tree was planted in 1880. It stands as a living testament to the heritage of the tree-lined new avenues that were created as part of the Haussmannian plan to modernise Paris. At the end of the 19th century, some 88,000 trees lined the streets of Paris. The main species planted by Haussmann were the plane tree and horse-chestnut tree.
Around the bases of some trees, the permeable surface has been enlarged and demarcated, allowing plants to grow here spontaneously. The pathways created from tree to tree allow small wildlife to move around more easily.
This development is in line with the City of Paris Biodiversity Plan, which focuses on strengthening the Green Network.
Trees are "natural air conditioners", in that they offer a cooling system by means of water evaporation and thanks to the shade cast on the ground by their foliage. Many factors contribute to heat storage on hot summer days: facades and roofs, densely packed buildings, asphalt sidewalks and streets, as well as the narrowness of certain streets which prevent air currents. For all these reasons, the average temperature is 2 to 3°C (3.6 to 5.4 °F) higher in Paris than in rural or suburban areas. The air is also drier and more polluted. Stored up during the day and released at night, this heat prevents nocturnal cooling and causes uncomfortably high temperatures for city dwellers during heat waves. Green spaces and trees play an important role in the fight against extreme city heat. Surveys of summer temperatures at midday on the edge of a wooded area confirm that water loss from plants cools the air nearby.
There are 1590 streets planted with 100,700 trees of over 250 varieties, covering over 200 km (124 miles), which promote the circulation and development of wildlife in Paris. New species such as holm oaks, hazels, honey locusts, hackberries and cherry trees have joined the traditional horse chestnut trees, planes, maples, locusts, etc. This diversity reduces the risk of spreading species-specific diseases or parasites and supports adaptation to climate change. Street trees are very vulnerable; they are subject to an unfavourable environment of possible drought, soil compaction, pollution, car impact and so on. Their average longevity of 60 years is shorter than that of park trees. Improvements in the planting and the maintenance of urban trees increase their life expectancy. Between October and March, tree surgeons employed by the City of Paris practice light pruning in a manner specific to the various tree species. This pruning strategy is adapted to the pressures of the urban environment; it causes less wounds, maintains the trees' natural habit and helps preserve nesting sites.
A new Biodiversity Plan is in the process of being developed to reinforce nature's place throughout the Parisian territory and reduce the carbon footprint of the city. Following an inventory of the biodiversity in Paris, liaising with its citizens and the committed territorial agents at the beginning of 2016 through local dialoguing workshops and contributions to a collaborative platform will bring forward the main themes which will constitute the City's new stategy for all living things.
The Main Verte (green fingers) programme run by the City of Paris facilitates the establishment of community garden projects for residents on public land. There are more than eighty community gardens located in the capital. Local community associations initiating and managing community gardens on city lands comply with the "Main Verte" programme's regulations. It stipulates that these gardens be open to the general public on a regular basis, the organisation of events should be open to all, and the sites should be managed in an environmentally sound manner. The "Main Verte" programme promotes environmentally friendly practices and on a local level, works towards the city's policies for sustainable development.
High environmental quality public facilities
At 118-122 Boulevard de Charonne, an EHPAD (establishment for dependent elderly people) with 112 beds, a child care centre for up to 30 children, and 6 residential units have been opened.
All satisfy the energy requirements of the Climate and Energy Action Plan, which are adapted to private facilities (retirement homes, homes for the disabled). The compact building gives onto a green square in the heart of the block and the day-care centre is set on the ground floor. On higher floors, the common rooms and living rooms of the EHPAD lead out onto pleasant terraces laid out as "sensory gardens". The decorations and the mouldings of the street-side windows enliven the facade with motifs borrowed from the plant world.
As part of the fight against climate change, this Plan aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 75% from the Paris territory by 2050 compared with 2004, and anticipates the impacts of climate change. This Action Plan will be implemented in numerous areas: transportation, housing, urban planning, resource and waste management, food supply, and so on. The targets for 2020 compared with 2004 within the Paris territory are : 25% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, 25% reduction in energy consumption, 25% of energy consumption produced from renewable sources Duty bound to set an example, the City of Paris has adopted voluntary commitments for its administration with the targets set at 30% reduction (buildings, vehicles and street lighting).
Greening the street
With a Planting Permit in hand, urban gardeners on Boulevard de Charonne have placed flower boxes and grown plants at the feet of certain trees. Individuals can get involved in "greening" Paris' public spaces and take responsibility for a patch of vegetation to beautify it and create a home for biodiversity.
The City encourages its citizens to participate in the embellishment of their living environment. Following the 'More Green near me' program in 2014, today's 'Planting Permit' invites Parisians to develop nature's presence in public spaces. This permit encourages the inhabitants to install planters on the pavement, to turn green the poles along some streets, to plant climbers at the base of building facades as well as plants around the trees. Seeds and potting soil are available for these urban gardeners. A commitment of 3 years is required (and renewable up to 12 years) via their signature of a charter to cultivate and to maintain the space in a ecological manner by using indigenous species, nectar producing plants grown without pesticides and to clean the area regularly. They receive then a « Planting Permit » which grants them a temporary authorization to use public space.