Friday, April 6, 2012

Urban Heat Island and Trees

Last year we discussed Urban Heat Islands and the effect that they have on the environment and how building owners could help diminish it. One of the ways was to install a cool roof system on a building, like an elastomeric coating system. The other was to increase vegetation around the building.

Many cities have put into place a Tree Protection ordinance, prohibiting removing or pruning of trees without a permit. San Antonio, Texas actually requires different levels of free protection based on tree class or location.

There are also Street Tree ordinances that govern how to plant and remove trees along public right-of-ways and land that is privately owned but accessible by the public. For example, Orlando, Florida specifies that trees must be planted along both sides of a street, with one tree every 50 to 100 feet.

Parking lot shade is another way to help reduce the heat island effect and increase vegetation. In Sacramento, California, for example, a code in their zoning code requires that enough trees be planted to shade 50 percent of new parking lots after 15 years of tree growth.

So if you are looking to build or renovate your building, keep environmental concerns in mind and contact your city and see what steps can be taken to minimize the Urban Heat Island.