Skip to main content
Matrix by Callison - 4.0 Materials

4.6.1 Heat Island Effect

4.6 Heat Island Effect

Reduce the build-up of ambient heat in urban, densely populated areas. Urban areas can have air temperatures up to 22°F (12°C) higher then surrounding rural areas due to heat retention by building materials such as concrete and asphalt; this is called the Heat Island Effect. (Source:

Green roofs, green walls, high SRI/high albedo paving and roofing materials, and pervious paving systems can all be utilized to reduce the Heat Island Effect. Vegetation and architectural devices should be used for shading.

Limit impervious hardscape and maximize shade and vegetation. Integrate green roofs, green walls, and pervious surfaces in the design process early on. Organize parking so that most or all of the spaces are under a roof or vegetation. Use light colored paving surfaces and roofing materials. Light colored, high albedo roof surfaces also help mitigate heat transfer from the roof to interior spaces.

Reduced cooling loads. Reduced UV degradation and longer life of lightly-colored membranes. Using highly reflective materials may also allow the designer to reduce site lighting requirements.

Benefits of minimizing the heat island effect include reduced air pollution (smog develops faster at a higher temperature) and lower temperatures during summer heat waves in urban areas. Green roofs and pervious paving will also reduce storm water runoff. Integrated landscaping in the project enhances users experience by i.e. reducing the “sea” of unbroken parking lots and improves views from the building.

Early design integration. Vegetation is preferred for shading whenever possible, but architectural shading devices can be used to block direct sunlight.

1.4.9 Green Roof
.4.10 Exterior Green Walls
2.2.2 Xeriscaping
2.2.3 Pervious Surfaces