The energy consumption of terraces in the Barcelona public space: heating the street
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Terraces, as outdoor extensions of food and beverage businesses located in the public realm, have very high potential to activate the streetscape, bring people together and improving urban experiences. Among the consequences of the current COVID-19 pandemic are the recommendations of maximizing outdoor environments when conducting human interactions. Therefore, outdoor eating has dramatically increased throughout the world, with terraces becoming a radical urban change in many streetscapes. The urgency of the situation, and rapid implementation of these changes, has revealed some aspects of this phenomenon that should be considered when adapting the regulations to this new reality. However, the research on their functioning and impact is limited. Additionally, although energy consumption in the architectural and urban field is considered fundamental, research has rarely addressed small business outdoor spaces, placing the focus instead on residential heating or public lighting. This study focuses on the intersection of these two gaps by analyzing a set of terraces in Barcelona and estimating the power installed in their outdoor heating devices. The goal is to determine the potential energy consumed, contrast it with other values more commonly used when researching architectural energy consumption and point out the lack of sustainability of these approaches to providing comfort. The calculations show that the installed power in Barcelona terraces is significant and, when estimating potential consumption, it presents values higher that the average heating consumption of residential units in Spain. These results support two main conclusions: first, the relevance of addressing the means of providing comfort in outdoor urban spaces due to the high magnitude of their potential energy consumption; second, the importance of adapting those systems to outdoor conditions, understanding the needs of the occupants and the limitations of the environment in order to develop sustainable solutions that provide comfort without attempting to heat the air of the street.
CitationAlonso-Montolio, C. [et al.]. The energy consumption of terraces in the Barcelona public space: heating the street. "Sustainability", 16 Gener 2021, vol. 13, núm. 2, p. 1-20.