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Collation, analysis and research of thermal benefits of green life in the urban landscapes

Poulter, R.E., Holborn, S. and Dahler, J. (2008) Collation, analysis and research of thermal benefits of green life in the urban landscapes. Project Report. HG06133. Horticulture Australia Limited.

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Publisher URL: http://www.horticulture.com.au/reports/search_final_reports.asp
Organisation URL: http://www.deedi.qld.gov.au/


This project reviewed international research conducted on the possible role of plants in alleviating high temperatures in our living spaces. The literature review served to identify the work that has already been carried out in the area and to highlight the gaps to be filled by experimental research. A pilot study then investigated the thermal properties of six of the most common landscaping materials. This project clearly shows that plants can play a significant role in modifying the thermal conditions of urban environments. Tall trees can shade nearby buildings and allow for reductions in cooling costs. In addition to basic shading, the dispersal of heat via the plant’s natural transpiration stream has long been recognised as an important component of the urban energy balance. It has been shown that urban temperatures can be up to 7°C higher than nearby rural areas, illustrating the impact of plants on their environment. These benefits argue against the idea of removing plants from landscapes in order to save on water in times of drought. Similarly, the idea of switching to artificial turf is questionable, since artificial turf still requires watering and can reach temperatures that far exceed the safe range for players. While vegetation offers evaporative cooling, non-vegetative, impervious surfaces such as concrete do not, and can therefore cause greater surface and soil temperatures. In addition, the higher temperatures associated with these impervious surfaces can negatively affect the growth of plants in surrounding areas. Permeable surfaces, such as mulches, have better insulating properties and can prevent excessive heating of the soil. However, they can also lead to an increase in reflected longwave radiation, causing the leaves of plants to close their water-conducting pores and reducing the beneficial cooling effects of transpiration. The results show that the energy balance of our surroundings is complicated and that all components of a landscape will have an impact on thermal conditions.

Item Type:Monograph (Project Report)
Funders:This project was funded by voluntary contributions from industry with matched funding from the Australian Government facilitated through HAL.
Corporate Creators:QPIF, DEEDI
Projects:HAL Project HG06133: Collation, analysis and research of thermal benefits of green life in the urban landscapes
Business groups:Horticulture and Forestry Science
Additional Information:© Horticulture Australia Limited.
Keywords:Thermal benefits; urban enviroment; urban energy balance; green life; urban landscape.
Subjects:Plant culture > Landscape gardening. Landscape architecture
Live Archive:25 Oct 2010 05:50
Last Modified:03 Sep 2021 16:43

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