A new report finds that many municipalities are working to counter the so-called urban heat island effect.
Nearly two-thirds of the 26 North American cities surveyed by the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy and the Global Cool Cities Alliance said they are working to reduce the warming temperatures in cities caused by development.
“U.S. cities are waking up to the growing threat of urban heat and employing a number innovate approaches suited to their location and priorities,” said ACEEE researcher and report author Virginia Hewitt. “Our report will help local planners adapt these practices to even more communities across the country.”
Efforts taken by city officials include planting trees, managing storm water and installing vegetation-filled “green” roofs.
New York, the largest city in the U.S., has been at the forefront of such efforts, said Wendy Dessy of volunteer organization NYC Service.
“We recognized a number of years ago that keeping New York cooler was an important part of protecting public health and becoming more resilient,” she said. “We started with cool-roof volunteer programs that raised awareness and understanding, while coating 5 million square feet of rooftops. These voluntary efforts led to the cool-roof ordinance requiring investments in reflective roofs on certain buildings.”
Kurt Shickman, executive director of the Global Cool Cities Alliance, said work to cool the pavement-filled urban areas can benefit residents.
“Our report finds that by addressing their urban heat islands, cities are more effectively delivering core public health and safety services, making them attractive places to live, work, and play,” Shickman said.
The full study, “Cool Policies for Cool Cities: Best Practices for Mitigating Urban Heat Islands in North American Cities” is available at http://aceee.org/research-report/u1405.