The goal of C3Ontario is to help homeowners reduce heat in and around their homes, in an effort to cool our communities and reduce the urban heat island.
The Urban Heat Island
Cities are generally warmer than their non-urban surroundings — this referred to as the urban heat island.
Urban heat islands form because urban areas absorb and emit greater amounts of solar energy than rural or natural environments.
The main factors that contribute to the urban heat island are:
- Masses of concrete, asphalt and other materials that absorb, temporarily store and eventually release heat over time, or conduct heat to interior building spaces;
- Reduced vegetation and trees, which limits shade and the potential for heat to be dissipated by evaporation of water from soil and leaves;
- Decrease in surface waters such as ponds, creeks, or wetlands that can reflect incoming solar energy;
- Heat-generation such as heavy vehicle traffic and industry within urban areas.
Hot days and heat waves are common in many Ontario cities, and in a few decades, unusually hot summers are likely to become the norm. For homeowners, high temperatures can bring discomfort, and can aggravate heart and breathing problems. For those with air conditioning, high temperatures can raise energy bills. High temperatures impact communities by increasing peak energy demand, air pollution levels and heat-related illness and deaths.
What You Can Do
There are several cooling measures available to help you reduce heat in and around your home:
Cool roofs reflect the sun’s rays and emit a large percentage of the solar energy that they absorb. The roof stays cooler and so does the building below.
Cool pavements reflect solar energy and store and evaporate water. Pavements stay cooler and so does the air above them.
Trees and Vegetation
Trees and vegetation cool urban areas by providing shade. They also cool the air by using heat energy to move water through the plant and to release water vapour.By installing these cooling measures on your property, you can minimize the heat in your home and overall summer temperatures in the community. This results in reduced energy consumption for air conditioning, lower emissions of greenhouse gases and air pollutants and cost savings for your family over time.