There’s no doubt about it, Charlotte is a big city filled with commercial businesses, apartment buildings, industrial building and concert venues, not to mention residential homes right outside the city. With this being said, are you aware of the Urban Heat Island Effect and what it means for those who live in the city?

The Urban Heat Island Effect, or UHI, directly affects metropolitan areas much more significantly than rural areas due to human activities. During the daytime hours are when the temperatures are most apparent, also when winds are nonexistent. Additionally, the biggest temperature difference between rural and city areas are usually larger at night.

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How does the Urban Heat Island Effect happen?

Due to human activities, such as driving, walking, living and building, the population grows. The more bodies in one area, the higher the heat. This about the city as a maze; if the buildings in the city are blocking a lot of fresh air moving through and more and more people are going about their daily lives, it’s no wonder it’s hotter within the city. The air has nowhere to go and it gets stuck in the midst of it all. What does this mean exactly? The city is likely hotter than rural areas where air and wind travel freely.

Since the 1970s, the temperatures in cities have been consistently rising. Here’s an analysis of some of the data found through research completed by Climatecentral.org:

  • 57 cities had measurable urban heat island effects over the past 10 years. Single-day urban temperatures in some metro areas were as much as 27°F higher than the surrounding rural areas, and on average across all 60 cities, the maximum single-day temperature difference was 17.5°F.
  • Cities have many more searing hot days each year. Since 2004, 12 cities averaged at least 20 more days a year above 90°F than nearby rural areas. The 60 cities analyzed averaged at least 8 more days over 90°F each summer compared to adjacent rural areas.
  • More heat can increase ozone air pollution. All 51 cities with adequate data showed a statistically significant correlation between higher daily summer temperatures and bad air quality (as measured by ground-level ozone concentrations). Temperatures are being forced higher by increasing urbanization and manmade global warming, which could undermine the hard-won improvements in air quality and public health made over the past few decades.
  • In two thirds of the cities analyzed (41 of 60), urbanization and climate change appear to be combining to increase summer heat faster than climate change alone is raising regional temperatures. In three quarters (45 of 60) of cities examined, urbanized areas are warming faster than adjacent rural locations.
  • The top 10 cities with the most intense summer urban heat islands (average daily urban-rural temperature differences) over the past 10 years are:
    • Las Vegas (7.3°F)
    • Albuquerque (5.9°F
    • Denver (4.9°F)
    • Portland (4.8°F)
    • Louisville (4.8°F)
    • Washington, D.C. (4.7°F)
    • Kansas City (4.6°F)
    • Columbus (4.4°F)
    • Minneapolis (4.3°F)
    • Seattle (4.1°F)

On average across all 60 cities, urban summer temperatures were 2.4°F hotter than rural temperatures.

What does the Urban Heat Island Effect have to do with roofing?

Believe it or not, if you don’t have a high-quality roof, your energy bills could directly affect the amount of money you pay each month negatively. Without a roof that can withstand effectively blocking the UV rays and powerful heat from the city and the sun, it’s undeniable that your home will be hotter and your cooling units will be working overtime to keep your home at your desired temperature.

When you purchase a roof that is made to reflect heat, it’s likely your cooling unit won’t have to work as hard to keep your home at the desired temperature you want. Understanding and learning all there is to know about the Urban Heat Island Effect will help you realize what quality of roof repair and materials your roof should be replaced with. The more you know this, the more power you have to control your energy bills each month as the summers grow warmer. Let the heat index rise and the cool temperatures in your home stay consistent with the best roof repair and replacement team in Charlotte, Ace Roofing.