Plant Selection and Placement Criteria for Landscape Design

  • Chun Liang Tan
  • Nyuk Hien Wong
  • Steve Kardinal JusufEmail author


This study explores how landscape design can be optimized by considering specific plant traits and their corresponding temperature reduction potential. An initial study was conducted with the aim of quantifying the impact of rooftop greenery on mean radiant temperature (T mrt ). Results show that under clear sky conditions, plots with vegetation can reduce surrounding T mrt by up to 6.0 °C. The effect in temperature reduction is evident for a distance up to 3.0 m away from the center of the green plots. Thereafter, a second set of measurements was made to identify specific plant traits that contribute to temperature reduction. Results indicate that the temperature reduction potential of different types of vegetation varies according to their physical characteristics as well as physiological attributes such as plant evapotranspiration rate and shrub albedo. An empirical model was developed to establish the relationship between T mrt reduction, plant evapotranspiration and shrub albedo. Findings from these studies are used as a basis to formulate a framework for landscape planning and design. In the proposed framework, vegetation as well as building information are superimposed using a Geographical Information Systems (GIS) platform. A hypothetical scenario is used to illustrate the efficacy of the proposed landscape planning framework.


Mean radiant temperature Outdoor thermal comfort Rooftop greenery Vertical greenery 


  1. Akbari H (2002) Shade trees reduce building energy use and CO2 emissions from power plants. Environ Pollut 116:119–126CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Baik JJ, Kwak KH, Park SB, Ryu YH (2012) Effects of building roof greening on air quality in street canyons. Atmos Environ 61:48–55CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Beatley T (2000) Green urbanism: learning from European cities. Island Press, Washington, DCGoogle Scholar
  4. Ca VT, Asaeda T, Abu EM (1998) Reductions in air conditioning energy caused by a nearby park. Energ Buildings 29:83–92CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Cameron RWF, Taylor JE, Emmett MR (2014) What’s ‘cool’ in the world of green façades? How plant choice influences the cooling properties of green walls. Build Environ 73(0):198–207CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Castleton HF, Stovin V, Beck SBM, Davison JB (2010) Green roofs; building energy savings and the potential for retrofit. Energ Buildings 42:1582–1591CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Cheng CY, Cheung KKS, Chu LM (2010) Thermal performance of a vegetated cladding system on facade walls. Build Environ 45:1779–1787CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Council of Tree and Landscape Appraisers (1992) Guide for plant appraisal. International Society of Arboriculture, Savoy, IIIGoogle Scholar
  9. Gao W (1993) Thermal effects of open space with a green area on urban environment, Part I: a theoritical analysis and its application. J Archit Plann Environ Eng, AIJ, No. 488Google Scholar
  10. Gómez-Muñoz VM, Porta-Gándara M, Fernández J (2010) Effect of tree shades in urban planning in hot-arid climatic regions. Landsc Urban Plan 94(3):149–157CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Hough M (1984) City form and natural processes. Croom Helm, LondonGoogle Scholar
  12. Humphreys MA (1977) The optimum diameter for a globe thermometer for use indoors. Ann Occup Hyg 20(2):135–140Google Scholar
  13. Jones HG (1992) Plants and microclimate, 2nd edn. Cambridge University Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  14. Jonsson P (2004) Vegetation as an urban climate control in the subtropical city of Gaborone, Botswana. Int J Climatol 24:1307–1322CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Kamishima K, Kohmura K, Mochizuki K (2002), The analysis of greening effects on urban environment using GIS. In: Esri International User Conference. ESRI, San DiegoGoogle Scholar
  16. Katzschner L, Mülder J (2008) Regional climatic mapping as a tool for sustainable development. J Environ Manag 87(2):262–267CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Katzschner L, Bosch U, Röttgen M (2004) A methodology for bioclimatic microscale mapping of urban spaces. University of Kassel, KasselGoogle Scholar
  18. Koster E (1998) Urban morphology and computers. Urban Morphol 2(1):3–7Google Scholar
  19. Laing RA, Miller D, Davies AM, Scott S (2006) Urban greenspace: the incorporation of environmental values in a decision support system. J Inf Technol Constr 11:177–196Google Scholar
  20. Lindberg F, Grimmond C (2011) The influence of vegetation and building morphology on shadow patterns and mean radiant temperatures in urban areas: model development and evaluation. Theor Appl Climatol 105(3–4):311–323CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Mayer H (1993) Urban bioclimatology. Experientia 49(11):957–963CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Mayer H, Höppe P (1987) Thermal comfort of man in different urban environments. Theor Appl Climatol 38(1):43–49CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. McPherson EG (1994) Preserving and restoring urban biodiversity: cooling urban heat islands with sustainable landscapes. In: The ecological city. University of Massachusetts Press, Amherst, pp 151–172Google Scholar
  24. Nikolopoulou M, Lykoudis S (2006) Thermal comfort in outdoor urban spaces: analysis across different European countries. Build Environ 41:1455–1470CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Parizotto S, Lamberts R (2011) Investigation of green roof thermal performance in temperate climate: a case study of an experimental building in Florianópolis city, Southern Brazil. Energ Buildings 43:1712–1722CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Pérez G, Rincón L, Vila A, González JM, Luisa LF (2011) Green vertical systems for buildings as passive systems for energy savings. Appl Energy 88:4854–4859CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Perini K, Ottelé M, Fraaij ALA, Haas EM, Raiteri R (2011) Vertical greening systems and the effect on air flow and temperature on the building envelope. Build Environ 46:2287–2294CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Ra JG (2006) Four-year plan of the fourth elected city administration (2006–2010), Seoul, a clean and attractive global city. Seoul Metropolitan Government, SeoulGoogle Scholar
  29. Saadatian O, Sopian K, Salleh E, Lim CH, Riffat S, Saadatian E, Toudeshki A, Sulaiman MY (2013) A review of energy aspects of green roofs. Renew Sust Energ Rev 23:155–168CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Shashua-Bar L, Hoffman ME (2000) Vegetation as a climatic component in the design of an urban street: an empirical model for predicting the cooling effect of urban green areas with trees. Energ Buildings 31:221–235CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Simpson JR, McPherson EG (1996) Potential of tree shade for reducing residential energy use in California. J Arboric 22:10–18Google Scholar
  32. Stocks CE, Wise S (2000) The role of GIS in environmental modelling. Geogr Environ Model 4(2):219–235CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Tan CL, Wong NH, Jusuf SK (2013) Outdoor mean radiant temperature estimation in the tropical urban environment. Build Environ 64:118–129CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Tan CL, Wong NH, Tan PY, Jusuf SK, Chiam ZQ (2015) Impact of plant evapotranspiration rate and shrub albedo on temperature reduction in the tropical outdoor environment. Build Environ 94:206–217CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Thorsson S, Lindberg F, Eliasson I, Holmer B (2007) Different methods for estimating the mean radiant temperature in an outdoor urban setting. Int J Climatol 27:1983–1993CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Vernon HM (1932) The measurement of radiant temperature in relation to human comfort. J Ind Hyg 14:95–111Google Scholar
  37. Wong NH, Chen Y (2005) Study of green areas and urban heat island in a tropical city. Habitat Int 29:547–558CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Wong NH, Chen Y, Ong CL, Sia A (2003) Investigation of thermal benefits of rooftop garden in the tropical environment. Build Environ 38:261–270CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Wong NH, Tan AYK, Tan PY, Wong NC (2009) Energy simulation of vertical greenery systems. Energ Buildings 41:1401–1408CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Zhao J (2011) Towards sustainable cities in China. In: Analysis and assessment of some Chinese cities in 2008. Springer, New YorkGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Chun Liang Tan
    • 1
  • Nyuk Hien Wong
    • 1
  • Steve Kardinal Jusuf
    • 2
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Building, School of Design and EnvironmentNational University of SingaporeSingaporeSingapore
  2. 2.Sustainable Infrastructural Engineering (Building Services)Singapore Institute of TechnologySingaporeSingapore

Personalised recommendations