What you need to know about heat islands and how they affect your home or buildings and your community. Photo Credit: Jonas Weckschmied

Heat Island Compendium

EPA’s Reducing Urban Heat Islands: Compendium of Strategies 

Urban areas are usually warmer than their rural surroundings, a phenomenon known as the “heat island effect.” As cities develop, more vegetation is lost and more surfaces are paved or covered with build­ings. The change in ground cover results in less shade and moisture to keep urban areas cool. Built-up areas also evaporate less water, which contributes to elevated surface and air temperatures. Properties of urban materials, in particular solar reflectance, thermal emissivity, and heat capacity, also influence the development of urban heat islands, as they determine how the sun’s energy is reflected, emitted, and absorbed.

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