New heat mapping tool for urban buildings

A new 3D mapping program developed by researchers and trialed by councils in Greater Sydney could help councils better plan for increases in the urban heat island effect due to warmer temperatures caused by climate change.

The Microclimate and Urban Heat Island Mitigation Decision-Support Tool was developed by the Cooperative Research Centre for Low Carbon Living, based at the University of NSW Sydney. State and local governments, built environment industry officials and academics have worked with the Centre to develop the mapping program.

“This tool is unique because it integrates scientific models with a range of mitigation techniques to provide urban heat island mitigation analysis across both urban and building scales, such as urban form, parks, greenery, waterways and cool roofs,” said Project Leader, Associate Professor Lan Ding.

“This tool can be used by people without any technical background. You simply click to explore development alternatives and view the potential of mitigation options to reduce the impact of urban overheating.”

It builds on the Centre’s 2017 Guide to Urban Cooling Strategies developed by Associate Professor Paul Osmond, which was the first of its kind in Australia.

Some of those mitigation options could include adding more shading structures to buildings, or using misting fans and evaporative cooling measures.

This silent video demonstrates how the tool works.

City of Parramatta Lord Mayor, Andrew Wilson, says one of the city’s challenges is that it’s five to 10 degrees hotter than the eastern seaboard.

“As Parramatta develops, so we’re getting larger buildings and larger stands of concrete, and you can see on a heat map how many of those buildings and patches of concrete are basically retaining their heat overnight,” he said.

“So we’re seeing the livability of our city go down.”

The online program has demonstrated urban heat island mitigation measures for development projects in the City of Sydney’s Green Square Town Centre and Campbelltown City Council’s Macarthur Heights greenfield development on Sydney’s southwestern outskirts.

“This tool and others like it that CRC LCL research has created over the past seven years, is helping change the face of the way we plan and build our cities to mitigate climate change,” Centre Chief Executive, Professor Deo Prasad said.

“This is just the start to the way we build cities of the future to ensure they are sustainable, resilient, healthy and livable.”

The Centre’s on target to reached its foundational goal of lowering Australia’s residential and commercial carbon emissions by 10 mega tonnes by 2020. Its research program is due to in 2019.

Register here to begin using the heat mapping tool.

Image shows a demonstration of the heat mapping 3D tool used by the City of Parramatta.