Cooling the cities – A review of reflective and green roof mitigation technologies to fight heat island and improve comfort in urban environments

The temperature of cities continues to increase because of the heat island phenomenon and the undeniable climatic change.  The observed high ambient temperatures intensify the energy problem of cities, deteriorates comfort conditions, put in danger the vulnerable population and amplify the pollution problems.  To counterbalance the phenomenon, important mitigation technologies have been developed and proposed.  Among them, technologies aiming to increase the albedo of cities and the use of vegetative – green roofs appear to be very promising, presenting a relatively high heat island mitigation potential.  This paper aims to present the state of the art on both the above technologies, when applied in the city scale.  Tenths of published studies have been analysed.  Most of the available data are based on simulation studies using mesoscale modeling techniques while important data are available from the existing experimental studies.  When a global increase of the city’s albedo is considered, the expected mean decrease of the average ambient temperature is close to 0.3 K per 0.1 rise of the albedo, while the corresponding average decrease of the peak ambient temperature is close to 0.9 K.  When only cool roofs are considered, the analysis of the existing data shows that the expected depression rate of the average urban ambient temperature varies between 0.1 and 0.33 K per 0.1 increase of the roofs albedo with a mean value close to 0.2 K.  As it concerns green roofs, existing simulation studies show that when applied on a city scale, they may reduce the average ambient temperature between 0.3 and 3 K.  Detailed analysis of many studies reporting a comparison of the mitigation potential of both technologies has permitted the definition of the limits, the boundaries and the conditions under which the considered technologies reach their better performance, in a synthetic way.

Suggested citation or credit:

Volume 103, May 2014, Pages 682–703

Source: Elsevier

Publication Date: May 2014

Get the file:

Find it at: