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Urban Heat Islands: Green Initiatives

The Urban Heat Island Effect is a growing concern in the North Central
Texas region as temperatures rise and more green space is cleared for development. Urban Heat Islands occur when the temperature in an urban area is several degrees higher than the surrounding rural areas due to
human activities and the built environment.

As the less developed area around the city cools at night, the temperature
in the city remains high. This is because pavement, buildings, rooftops,
and other developments absorb heat during the day and releases it when
the sun sets. The released heat maintains daytime temperatures at night.

Dallas Skyline

                                               Urban Heat Island Effect

     Urban Heat Island Effect diagram

Solutions to Urban Heat Islands include:

Permeable Pavements – Permeable Pavements or Cool Pavements are more reflective and generally absorb less heat than traditional pavement.  They are often interwoven with grass and/or other porous substrate, which limits heat storage during the day time.  

Urban Gardens/Forestry – Trees and other foliage not only provide shade, but transpire which releases water vapor into the air and cools the surrounding area. 

Green Rooftops – Green Rooftops are rooftops with a layer of vegetation designed to prevent the absorption of heat.  Similar to Urban Forestry, Green Rooftops reduce ambient temperatures through shading and evapo-transpiration. 

 

Links and Resources

www.epa.gov/heatisland/mitigation/pavements.htm
www.epa.gov/heatisland/resources/pdf/CoolPavesCompendium.pdf
www.concretethinker.com/solutions/Heat-Island-Reduction.aspx
www.epa.gov/heatisland/resources/pdf/GreenRoofsCompendium.pdf

2/5/2014 12/2011 bw

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