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Do Cool Roofs Mitigate Richmond, Virginia Urban Heat Islands?

A new report, Urban roofing adaptations can roll back warming of emerging megapolitan regions such as Richmond and Petersburg, Virginia, published in Proceedings of the Journal of the National Academy of Sciences, suggests that cool roofs and green roofs can counteract both processes. The report was authored by Matei Georgescu of Arizona State University and Philip E. Morefield, Britta G. Bierwagen, and Christopher P. Weaver of the US Environmental Protection Agency.

The continued growth of metropolitan areas, which the report calls “megapolitan expansion,” is expected to raise temperatures by one to two degrees Celsius by the year 2100 across much of of the US, and not just in individual cities. This rise in temperatures is separate from that caused by greenhouse gasses. The report states that design and urban planning tactics can mitigate rising temperatures.

The authors used climate simulations to evaluate “green, cool roof, and hybrid approaches" to ameliorate the warming.

“Our results quantify how judicious choices in urban planning and design cannot only counteract the climatological impacts of the urban expansion itself but also, can, in fact, even offset a significant percentage of future greenhouse warming over large scales,” the authors said. Read More

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