Policies to reduce heat islands: Magnitudes of benefits and incentives to achieve them

TitlePolicies to reduce heat islands: Magnitudes of benefits and incentives to achieve them
Publication TypeConference Proceedings
Year of Publication1996
AuthorsRosenfeld, Arthur H., Joseph J. Romm, Hashem Akbari, Melvin Pomerantz, and Haider Taha
Conference Name1996 ACEEE Summer Study on Energy Efficiency in Buildings
Date Published1996/05
KeywordsHeat Island, urban heat island

A "Cool Communities" strategy of lighter-colored reroofs and resurfaced pavements, and shade trees, can directly lower annual air conditioning bills in Los Angeles (LA) by about $100 million (M), cool the air in the LA Basin (thereby saving indirectly $70M more in air conditioning), and reduce smog exceedance by about 10%, worth another $360M, for a total savings of about $0.5 billion per year. Trees are most effective if they shade buildings; but they are still very cost effective if they merely cool the air by evapotranspiration. Avoided peak power for air conditioning can be about 1.5GW (more than 15% of LA air conditioning). Extrapolated to the entire US, the authors estimate 20GW avoided and potential annual electricity savings of about $5–10B in 2015. To achieve these savings, they call for ratings and labels for cool materials, buildings` performance standards, utility incentive programs, and an extension of the existing smog-offset trading market (RECLAIM) to include credit for cool surfaces and trees. EPA can include cool materials and trees in its proposed regional "open market smog-offset trading credits".


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