The City of Sydney Council is trialing light-coloured pavement in parts of Chippendale, including a 600-square-metre section of Myrtle Street that included the road surface. The aim is to reduce the urban heat island effect as part of an overall aim to reduce carbon emissions by 70% & increasing the tree canopy by 50% by 2030. How fantastic is this! It is disappointing that Marrickville Council has not done similarly to state a target for increasing the tree canopy in their recent Street Tree Master Plan.
Albedo or white-coloured surfaces have been shown to be effective at reflecting heat. The traditional red roofs of Australia actually absorb & trap heat making our houses hotter. The current design trend for black roofs is a dreadful move, as the heat trapped in these houses radiates back at night, raising the temperature of whatever surrounds it. This could be the house next door.
We have black roads, often dark footpaths, dark paving, dark walls, dark roofs, few street trees & poor canopy cover & much of the ground covered in concrete or bitumen surfaces. All these hard surfaces create a heat sink, which then releases heat at night when it is supposed to be cooler.
Cities & built up suburbs are up to 8 degrees warmer than rural areas. A few degrees might not sound much to someone who likes summer temperatures, but the urban heat island effect does kill people. Around 200 people die of heat every year in Melbourne. Their 2013 road toll was 242, so heat-related death is something to take seriously.
The City of Sydney Council has installed temperature & humidity meters in Chippendale & Redfern. They have also installed a Pyranometer, which measures the strength of the sun. They will be monitoring how shade trees & pavement-colour affect the temperature.
Any interested person can look at their data collection from these sites here –http://adms.ajenti.com.au/Dashboard/Global/28