Hot In The City
No, we’re not going to tell you how to use an electric fan or apply sun screen, but as global temperatures rise (and the U.K finds itself in the midst of yet another heatwave as I type) it’s worth looking at a recent study that shows the best ways to keep buildings cool. It may be hot in the city but there are long term, eco-friendly solutions that are pretty easy to implement for city planners.
The study was conducted by the University of Portland in the United States and the team used computer modelling across various property types. They found that although it was not the case that one mitigation solution worked best for all environments, a combination of solutions was extremely effective in many cases. For example, in flat-roof properties, particularly apartment blocks, ‘green’ roofing – the practice of placing vegetation on a growing medium over a waterproof membrane – coupled with the use of reflective materials worked very well in mitigating excessive heat. The team also examined the efficacy of reflective pavements and surfaces to keep city environments cool, with varying degrees of success.
The study was commissioned by the City of Portland, and lawmakers there were of the view that as summers in the city appeared to be getting hotter by the year then future building design and subsequent planning approval would have to take account of this factor. But there were other interesting findings too. The study found that areas that were previously green but had been paved over experienced a noticeable increase in temperature. This has been studied previously and is known as the urban heat island effect but crucially, a spill-over of raised temperatures into neighbouring areas was observed.
It is hoped that in future years the data gathered by the study will allow planners to create nature-based solutions for increased urban temperatures.