Reduce our transport stations’ negative impact in Santander, Spain

What intrigued me in the project of becoming an IVY volunteer is the opportunity given to all to be able experiencing active life abroad or in another region, with a functional and professional supervision. Having a consequent European volunteer experience, it’s without any surprise that I chose to go abroad. Not too far still, as it’s the first time I’m leaving to settle somewhere to work.

The applications done, I’m waiting… in sight, Belgium, Spain or Check Republic. The working projects being similar, I was decided to choose on the first answer. Finally, it’s the Stop CO2 project that contacts me to get an interview. This one happens perfectly and we are already starting to discuss arriving details. The date is fixed: I start in Santander on the 1st of February 2019. My coordinator will be Orestes Cendrero, project’s communication director; he will guide me all along my adventure.

Between the decision-making and my departure, I have about 2 weeks. I pack my stuff and leave for Cantabria, to reach Santander the 27th of January. I had already started looking to rent a room (with the objective of practicing some daily Spanish) and those few days were enough to find it and start visiting the city. The city is modern and spacious and the great presence of parks invites you to get out until the view of the Magdalena of the Lighthouse calls you further…

The Stop CO2 project starts from the observation that the transport stations situated in the hearts of our cities are producing too much greenhouse gases this bringing to a continuous pollution problem. To prevent this, the project works on a transnational level to find common solution to reduce or optimize energetic consumption in order to decrease their impact on our environment.

The project is composed of 8 collaborators spread over the SUDOE region (South-West France, Spain and Portugal + Andorra and Gibraltar), each one with complementary or specialised knowledge, had first to think how address the problem. Thanks to an evaluation tool set up by the teams we can now judge of the sustainability of a structure. This evaluation is made over several aspects of the structure, the energetic consumption level, constructive proprieties or the access to other means of transport. The data not being so easy to digest, a 5 star ranking system was decided to inform the public. Today 49 stations compose the network split over the 3 major countries of the regional program, and even big companies like SNCF or TRANSDEV entrust our teams and let us evaluate their stations. You can identify these stations thanks to a Sticker presenting their result near the entrance.

Once the evaluation phase done, the project also proposes an advisory one. In fact the second objective of this program is to democratize good practices and help structures find the most suitable solutions to their specific problems. For this, the Building engineering and modelling technologies or “BIM” have been adapted by our teams to also realise provisional calculations and energetic consumption analysis. Also pilot projects like Arcachon, Libourne or Torrelavega bring the possibility to install and permanently analyse the consumptions.

The first days of work started as I could expect it, difficulties with fluent Spanish and activities that i was discovering… I realize the tasks that are given to me, writing news and articles for the social media or the Newsletter, realise photo documentaries or participating conferences. Very instructive about the project’s communication or the projects themselves thanks to a presentation or the encounter of other actors.

First weeks have gone pretty quiet what permitted me to find my marks with serenity. Now a more agitated period is coming and I can’t wait to continue this adventure.

No doubt for me, it’s an experience that everyone should live!

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