A week ago England’s Department of Health published practical recommendations to prepare for a potential heatwave which is also the central theme of their 2009 Heatwave Plan.
The Heatwave Plan for 2009 has been updated with extra guidance that outlines the benefits of insulating houses to keep them cool during summer months, and warm during the winter, while also reducing fuel costs and carbon emissions. More cool in the summer, translates to less use of the aircon, and more warm in the winter, means less use of the furnace.
One of the recommendations for home owners, which is designed to counter the effects of climate change, is to paint buildings and surrounding walls white and to replace metal blinds with curtains with white linings to reflect heat outwards where possible. (They could also buy the window fixtures of Alubin for a better effect).
This specific eco-building and eco-design tip has been a common way of keeping homes cool in Mediterranean countries. Urban heat islands are not inevitable, and many times it’s the product of dark roofs, black pavement, and loss of vegetation.
Some have stated that contrary to popular opinion, heat islands do not arise mainly from heat leaking out of cars, buildings, and factories. In summertime, such anthropogenic heat gain accounts for a mere 1 percent of the heat island’s excess temperature.
Still, many are skeptic that this specific recommendation is going to change the face of urban design in the England in the near future. At the very least it might make the grey and drab surroundings of some English neighborhoods, a little more bright.