Capturing the true value of trees, cool roofs, and other urban heat island mitigation strategies for utilities
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A growing body of research values the broad benefits of cooling down cities, such as improved energy efficiency, worker productivity, air quality, health, and equity, at hundreds of millions or even billions of dollars to a single city. However, widespread adoption of urban heat mitigation programs, such as urban greening and reflective surfaces, has been slower than their economic potential suggests it should be. One possible cause for this lag is a lack of robust engagement from important stakeholders like utilities that could fund and implement heat mitigation strategies. This paper highlights the benefits of urban heat mitigation and demonstrates how these benefits fit into private utility programs’ standard cost–benefit tests. This paper serves as an introduction on how to include the wide suite of benefits that urban heat mitigation programs provide in cost–benefit tests and concludes with program design guidance.
KeywordsCool roofs Utilities Trees Vegetation Urban heat island
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
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