Green Roofs and the Urban Heat Island Effect

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In metropolitan areas, urban development has replaced much of the vegetated landscape with built structures and surfaces, altering near-surface climate and causing air temperatures to increase.

This phenomenon, referred to as the urban heat island (UHI) effect, occurs because building materials commonly used in urban areas, such as concrete and asphalt, have significantly different thermal and surface radiative properties than natural landscape. Materials such as waterproofing, asphalt, and concrete absorb energy from the sun and convert it to sensible heat.

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