The Shade Factor – Trees are a natural resource that improve air and water quality, plus save us energy. Shading the south and west exposures of a building will reduce energy costs. In the summertime, generally 10 to 30 percent of the sun’s energy reaches the area below a tree canopy.
Vegetation Cooling – Vegetation is a simple and effective way to reduce urban heat islands. Trees and vegetation lower surface and air temperatures by providing shade and through evapotranspiration. Evapotranspiration can reduce peak summer temperatures by 5 to 10 degrees.
Selective Hardscaping – When selecting hardscape, it is important to consider the amount of heat that will be retained by the material installed. For example, asphalt is black and absorbs a high amount of solar energy. The color white, on the other hand, is reflective and returns most solar energy (heat) back into the atmosphere. There are now cool pave coats (CPC) that can be applied directly over asphalt and concrete to change the surface rate of heat absorption. Thus, the area would be much cooler. Decomposed granite can also be used in certain areas instead of concrete. The material is more absorbant and cooler than concrete and asphalt.