An academic yesterday introduced a microclimate assessment system to identify warmer areas in cities as he advised urban planners to “set aside a pathway for the wind” to mitigate the urban heat island effect.
Global warming might be a distant issue for some people, but the urban heat island effect, or urban warming, is an everyday reality that affects people’s health and increases their power bills, National Cheng Kung University architecture professor Lin Tzu-ping (林子平) told a news conference at the Ministry of Science and Technology in Taipei.
Lin said he seeks solutions to urban warming at his Building and Climate Laboratory at the university.
To understand microclimate systems in cities, his team has installed 150 to 200 thermometers on lighting poles in Taipei, New Taipei City, Taichung, Tainan and Kaohsiung over the past three years, Lin said.
The team also used anemometers to collect pertinent data in selected hotspots, he added.
Citing last year’s findings, Lin said that the average summer nighttime temperature in central Tainan was found to be 3°C to 4°C higher than in the suburbs.
Photo: Yang Mien-chieh, Taipei Times
The team’s simulations showed that every square meter of a house in downtown Tainan might consume an additional 19 kilowatt-hours of electricity per year compared with that of a house in the suburbs, he said.
In Taipei and New Taipei City, residents living near the Keelung River (基隆河) and the Sindian River (新店溪) might not feel as cool as they had expected, as artificial structures block the wind blowing from the rivers, Lin said.
Cooling, ventilating and shading are three key methods to mitigate urban warming, the team said, citing its findings.
These could be achieved by building more green landscape and shading structures, and leaving pathways for the wind, as well as using less air conditioning, Lin said.
The team has presented its findings to the five municipalities to help them improve their management of buildings, he added.
However, the data could not be incorporated into the Central Weather Bureau’s public notification channels, as the information is not precise enough, he said.
Nonetheless, the data might offer useful information about apparent temperature, by which people could decide whether to visit a location, he said, adding that some government agencies in Japan regularly announce such temperature indices.
A mobile app for the assessment system is being tested, Lin said.
After the app becomes available, the team’s microclimate data might be used to improve tourism services, the efficiency of agricultural and fisheries sectors, labor safety standards and large-scale urban renewal planning, he said.
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