Best Ways to Reduce the Urban Heat Island Effect
Phoenix is one of the fastest-baking cities in the United States due to our rapid urbanization resulting in an urban heat island (UHI) effect of substantial size and density. “It’s been getting significantly hotter,” says Harvey Bryan, senior sustainability scientist at ASU’s School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture. “It’s a magnitude now of about 12 degrees above our historical nighttime lows. It was very typical to have summer evenings of 78 degrees back in the 1950s. Today we rarely go below 90. I think we’re headed to conditions where we have 100 degrees as our maximum nighttime low.” One of the simplest ways to reduce the heat island effect is by creating more shade. This is easily accomplished by planting more trees and the primary reason most valley area cities require trees on commercial properties along right of way sidewalks and parking lots. March is a great time to schedule tree planting if your property is missing trees due to storm damage or earlier removal.