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Mitigating Electricity Use During Heat Waves by City Tech Blogger Isiah Kersaint

Electricity becomes major resource that is used during heat waves as people try to cool themselves down by turning on their air conditioner, dehumidifiers, fans and other cooling devices. The heat from heat waves is not what causes power outages, but the amount of load put on power grids due to high electricity demand. This high demand for electricity during heat waves can then lead to an increase in output of air pollutant such as sulfur dioxide (SO2), nitrogen oxides (NOx), and mercury (Hg) and greenhouse emissions such as carbon monoxide (CO2) from factories that produce this energy



Three strategies that can be used to mitigate the effects of a heat wave and therefore lower energy usage are green roofs, cooling roofs and planting trees and vegetation

  • Cooling roofs provide high solar reflectance which helps to reflect sunlight and heat away from a building, reducing roof temperatures. A high thermal emittance also plays a role, particularly in climates that are warm and sunny. Together, these properties help roofs to absorb less heat and stay up to 50–60°F (28–33°C) cooler than conventional materials during peak summer weather
  • Green roofs provide shade, remove heat from the air, and reduce temperatures of the roof surface and surrounding air. Using green roofs in cities or other built environments with limited vegetation can moderate the heat island effect, particularly during the day. Green roof temperatures can be 30–40°F lower than those of conventional roofs
  • Trees and vegetation can lower surface and air temperatures by providing shade and through evapotranspiration. Shaded surfaces may be 20–45°F (11–25°C) cooler than the peak temperatures of unshaded materials. Evapotranspiration, alone or in combination with shading, can help reduce peak summer temperatures by 2–9°F (1–5°C)

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