Urban Heat Island & Air Quality
On warm, summer days urban areas can be 5° to 7° F hotter than surrounding rural
areas. This climate phenomenon, known as the “Urban Heat Island Effect,” is mainly due to the replacement of trees and other vegetation with heat-absorbing surfaces such as paved roads and roofs.
The elevated temperatures cause energy demand from air conditioners to increase and power plants to burn more fossil fuels to meet the demand. Higher temperatures also increase the incidences of smog and poor air quality in urban areas.
To mitigate for the Urban Heat Island Effect and the resulting poor air quality, the Conservation Section promotes the following strategies and technologies through its programs and policies:
- Surfaces with higher reflectivities help lower temperatures
- To view the City's "Cool Paving Study," click here.
- Reflective surfaces or roof-top gardens lower temperatures and save energy
- To view the City's "Cool Roof Ordinance," click here.
- Canopy-forming trees help create shade & reduce energy use
- To view the City's "Shade Tree Policy," click here.
Be Notified of Local Poor Air Quality Alerts ... SIGN-UP FOR NIXLE!!!
Need help? Contact the City Conservation Section at 619-409-3893!
Your Community, Your Environment, Your Choice
Install an ENERGY STAR "Cool Roof" on Your Home
Purchase Shade Trees from the Arbor Day Foundation
Register Shade Trees in Your Neighborhood (San Diego Regional Tree Map)
EPA - Heat Island Effect
Lawrence Berkeley Lab - Cool Roof & Heat Island Groups
CCSE Urban Forestry Technical Assistance Center