Green roofs and walls work to lower the temperature of buildings through evapotranspiration, shade, and insulation. This can lower the overall temperature of a city.
Additionally, painting buildings, roofs, and roads white can improve the albido factor (reflecting the sun’s rays and thus lowering the temperature).
“The Guardian contends that ”study after study has shown that buildings with white roofs stay cooler during the summer. The change reduces the way heat accumulates in built-up areas – known as the urban heat island effect (UHIE)- and allows people who live and work inside to switch off power-hungry air conditioning units.” Reflective paint colors, such as white, or even light grey can help cool urban temperatures. “Computer simulations of Los Angeles show that resurfacing about two-thirds of roads and rooftops with reflective surfaces, as well as planting more trees, could cool the city by 2-3C.” Cooler cities also means less energy use for air conditioning. “On hot days in North America, up to 40% of all electricity can be consumed by air-conditioners, and each degree a city such as LA warms is reckoned to see the air-con turned up enough to need another 500MW – the output of a decent sized nuclear power station. Akbari estimates that widespread use of cooler rooftops could slash $1bn from electricity bills in the US alone.””
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