Sando, through its subsidiary Althenia, with funding from CTA and with the collaboration of the UMA’s Urban Ecosystem Studies Office, is using remote sensing and sensors to measure the economic, social and environmental benefits of green spaces.
Sando, through its subsidiary Althenia and in collaboration with the University of Malaga (UMA), is developing an R&D&I project financed by CTA (Technological Corporation of Andalusia) to develop a system to measure the economic, social and environmental benefits of urban trees and green areas.
The Serveco project is aimed at the “Evaluation and promotion of the ecosystem services provided by urban trees” and has the participation of the Urban Ecosystem Studies Office of the RNM-262 Biogeography, Diversity and Conservation research group of the UMA.
The technical manager of the Building and Civil Works sector of CTA, Carlos García, points out that “the main value of the SERVECO project is that it will allow public authorities (especially local authorities) to have a tool to demonstrate the environmental benefits of their actions in green areas, as well as the overall sustainability of their interventions in the urban and peri-urban environment”. He adds that the results of its application will make it possible to confirm the suitability of this type of action, reinforce the corporate image of these entities and facilitate the attraction of funding, especially European funding, which is a requirement in the current Recovery, Transformation and Resilience Plan.
Sando’s Head of Innovation, Juan Antonio Báez, indicated that, thanks to the support of CTA, “we have managed to promote a key project that will provide us with detailed information on the impact of green spaces in cities”. He also explained the motivations behind this project: “we have been developing research with different sensors for more than a decade, thanks to which we provide innovative solutions to our clients’ needs in different areas such as sustainable construction, efficient infrastructure conservation, innovative and recycled materials or environmental management, among others, through new technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), digital twins, BIM, robotics… This project will contribute to being more environmentally friendly in line with the Sustainable Development Goals to which Sando is firmly committed”.
Enrique Salvo Tierra, principal researcher at the University of Malaga, highlighted the importance of this work: “through the use of advanced telematic techniques we will be able to value the ecosystem services provided by green areas in the city and especially urban trees at a time when the transcendental role they play in the adaptation and mitigation of global warming and the urban heat island is becoming clear”.
The Serveco project will employ remote sensing techniques and their integration with the use of field sensors with the aim of developing an integrated methodology for the valuation and promotion of the ecosystem services of urban trees. In this way, new technologies will be applied to promote that urban trees can create better environmental conditions that increase the quality of life in a city.
The project is aimed at public administrations as a client, mainly city councils and provincial councils.
The validation will be carried out in key areas of the municipality of Malaga: neighbourhoods with good forest cover, neighbourhoods with poor forest cover and neighbourhoods without forest cover. Data on environmental variables will be collected at street level in different seasons of the year during the hours of highest solar incidence and information will be captured using remote sensing techniques, obtaining both point clouds and high-resolution images, to complement and compare the information derived from field sensors.
The system will make it possible to validate the influence of urban forestry on atmospheric pollution, climate change and, in general, on the improvement of environmental comfort. In this way, it will contribute to preserving and promoting this environmental comfort in order to make cities much more habitable. This project aims to provide a new strategy to adapt cities to the new climate and ecological crisis scenario, which threatens the habitability of the urban environment through the increase in atmospheric pollution, the worsening of the phenomenon of heat islands and the loss of environmental comfort.
About Sando and Althenia
The sustainable management of environmental services is a fundamental pillar in the business structure of Sando, a multinational company dedicated to the execution of infrastructures and services. Althenia was created with the aim of providing integral environmental services in terms of sustainability, contributing to the conservation of the environment and improving the quality of life of citizens. Althenia is a consolidated company in Spain and Morocco and focuses on three types of services: sustainable management of green area conservation services, building cleaning and street cleaning, and solid urban waste collection.
CTA is a private foundation with more than 170 member companies and almost 17 years of experience, originally promoted by the Andalusian Regional Government, privately managed and dedicated to the promotion of regional R&D&I and technology transfer. CTA helps companies to plan an innovation strategy, from the identification of their R&D&I needs to the formulation of projects to solve them or the search for partners and the necessary funding to carry them out. In addition, it has deployed a series of services to help companies, universities, technology centres, government and other entities to transform the results achieved into wealth and business.