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Urban Heat Island & Air Quality

On warm, summer days urban areheat_affect_chartas 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:

Cool Pavements

  • Surfaces with higher reflectivities help lower temperatures
  • To view the City's "Cool Paving Study," click here.

Cool Roofs

  • Reflective surfaces or roof-top gardens lower temperatures and save energy
  • To view the City's "Cool Roof Ordinance," click here.

Shade Trees

  • 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

Additional Information

EPA - Heat Island Effect

Lawrence Berkeley Lab - Cool Roof & Heat Island Groups

CCSE Urban Forestry Technical Assistance Center

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