The Urban Heat Island effect: What is it and how can it be minimised?

According to the New South Wales Government Department of Planning and Environment, ‘Average temperatures in large cities are 1 °C to 3 °C higher than in rural areas, as urban areas tend to trap more heat than natural environments.’ This is a phenomenon known popularly as the Urban Heat Island effect.  

‘Cities create their own microclimates by influencing the surrounding atmosphere and interacting with climate processes. The most striking characteristic of an urban microclimate is the Urban Heat Island effect. Urban areas become significantly warmer than surrounding areas when there is less green cover and more hard surfaces which absorb, store and radiate heat.’

Unfortunately, this affects certain areas more severely than others. For example, ’The western suburbs of Greater Sydney are particularly vulnerable to the Urban Heat Island effect – temperatures in this region are sometimes 10 °C higher than in eastern Sydney on days of extreme heat’, states the Department of Planning and Environment. 

As climate change becomes a growing issue and temperatures steadily rise, the negative effects on impacted communities also increase. Currently, pavement surfaces are a leading cause of the Urban Heat Island effect and contribute to 30%-40% of the urban footprint however, this can be changed. As stated in an article from The Conversation, ‘The use of cool materials on roofs, streets and pavements is an important cooling strategy. A cool surface material has low heat conductivity, low heat capacity, high solar reflectance and high permeability.’

StreetBondSR is a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) compliant coating. Its solar reflective characteristics reduce the Urban Heat Island effect by minimising the amount of solar energy absorbed by asphalt and concrete pavement surfaces, such as car parks, playgrounds and streetscapes. This not only lowers energy consumption in the community but also creates safer and more liveable environments.

Here at StreetSTRONG, as a licensed applicator of StreetBondSR, we strive to create streetscapes, roads, footpaths and community areas that minimise the Urban Heat Island effect. These spaces improve the lives of everyone who encounters them, creating empowering conditions where people can come together, be inspired, live and thrive.

As part of our ongoing commitment to sustainability and the minimisation of our environmental impact StreetSTRONG has committed to becoming a carbon neutral company, as well as holding a sustainable certification in environmental system management.

Learn more about the Urban Heat Island Effect here: 

Planning NSW

The Conversation

Climate Council

8 Vincent Street
Marrickville NSW 2204


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