Urban growth, albedo and global warming

Australian Solar Energy Society
Publication Type:
Conference Proceeding
Solar 2010 : Proceedings of the 48th AuSES Annual Conference, 2011, pp. 1 - 8
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Traditional town and city growth adds to the "urban heat island" (UHI) problem, which raises cooling demand, degrades the microclimate and adds directly to global warming. Low solar albedos and local energy use both contribute to the UHI but it is not widely appreciated that the former can have by far the dominant impact. These relative impacts, locally and globally, are quantized per square kilometre of typical Australian urban area for shifts in solar albedo and for the extra coal power demanded. This analysis shows that as a matter of urgency urban planning rules and building codes need to change. The energy savings and global cooling associated with improved rules and codes provide a higher environmental return on investment than most renewables and other energy efficiency measures.
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