Talk for Article "Essay: In dealing with climate change we need to take the heat out of our cities"

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  1. [ This comment is from a user you have muted ] (show)

    An interesting article!

    Robert, would I be right in saying that green walls are better than the white walls you mention?

    This kind of green wall:

    1. [ This comment is from a user you have muted ] (show)

      absolutely. thats a major point of the article. green cools naturally. white is problematic, reflecting heat rather than transforming it.

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    A large part of urban heat island is thermal mass. Parking lots and buildings with lots of concrete hold a lot of heat which builds up. Think of what happens when you walk by a large parking structure, depending on times of day and some other factors the temperature could be very different than the ambient air. Albedo largely governs the rate of heat flux but the total heat stored is determined by mass and capability of that mass to hold thermal energy.

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      yes indeed thermal mass is at the core of the urban heat island. This is well known. the issue is what to do about it in terms of cooling the urban environment.

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    When albedo is defined as increasing whiteness, it could be confusing or be slightly misleading. Albedo is an object’s reflectivity, which although is highly correlated to color. Reflection is determined by an object’s smoothness as well as color. A perfect black body has no reflectivity, and vice versa. White body and black bodies aren’t necessarily completely white or black. Painting an object that is perfectly smooth perfectly black is perfectly confusing. A bit more clarification regarding albedo might be helpful. I’m an academic, so I hope that’s not to nitpicky.

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      again. no doubt your understanding of albedo is advanced. again: the issue is how this understanding advances urban cooling. Academic knowledge must be translated into practicalities that architects and urban designers can readily grasp and apply. Can you offer some insights in that regard.

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        Good point. The hardest part is to translate academic information to non-academic audiences. I’m trying to do that in my own work right now. I like seeing comparisons. Like this color has this effect, but if the color is this the effect changes. Or if a surface is X smooth based on a certain measurement, then what happens if the smoothness changes. That still sounds relatively academic though. I don’t know, I’m just throwing out ideas. Specific numbers help I find, but not too many. People generally like discrete values not qualitative descriptions, from what I’ve seen. It’s easier for them to make comparisons. It might be easier to remember a specific number then the general idea of the article. What do you think?

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          Eventually I came to a simple matrix which emerged from the Victoria Park research I did with a thermal camera. It simply indicates the difference between the heat absorbed and emitted at peak daytime and at dawn. This differential I called the transience from the designed environment to the urban climate. It allows designers to see which elements are coolers and which are radiators. Then designing for cooling is simplified. Its this sort of thing I am trying to get to. If you click on the link in the article it will take you to the research and in that Report is the matrix. if you haven’t had a chance to go to it, there is no need to read the whole thing (the background literature eg) just the upfront bits. Let me know what you reckon. The Sydney City sustainability crowd found it relevant enough to put up on their website (back in 2011 I think).

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    A very interesting article. I would like to see an article on the global warming impact of raising animals for food. Various sources suggest CO2 production is higher than all forms of transport put together. CO2 from this source is set to rise with the growing demand for meat.

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      Thanks Raymond, will circulate it with the editorial team.

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    Hey Robert, I’ve had a good go through this, tightened it up a bit, changed some academic language and style on sentence structure. I haven’t put notes into it but think it is much clearer now. Just need to remember we are talking to a general audience so clarity of language is really important. Happy to speak more about the changes I made. email [email protected]

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