There has been mounting social pressure in Australia to minimise the urban heat island effect in new developments, due to the hot and sunny climate. The urban heat island effect occurs when materials absorb heat during the day and let off heat at night, so commercial landscapers have a huge role to play in minimising this issue. Here are some heat island minimising effects you can use during the design phase of your landscaping project.
Include plenty of mature trees and shade
One of the most importants ways to minimise the heat island is by including large, shady trees and greenery. While large trees can be expensive compared to saplings, they add shade and lower air and surface temperatures. Planting trees in areas where they can maximise effectiveness, including shading pavements and building windows, can be a good way to reduce the heat island effects and can also have benefits for the building owner by reducing the need for air conditioning. Moreton Bay Fig Trees are a great option for a native tree that spreads well and produces natural shade.
If you need to shade large walls and structures, installing vines on the side of the building can sometimes be more practical. Using a deciduous vine is ideal, as the vine will shed leaves during winter and not make the building cooler than it needs to be when then air temperature is lower.
Keep your colour schemes light
Where you do need to use cements and hard materials for walkways, be sure to keep the colour scheme light. Light concretes and building structures help to reflect light rather than absorb it, leading to cooler surfaces at night and less radiating heat.
Utilise natural convection and evaporative techniques
With most of the Australian population living in coastal towns, another important factor is to orient the landscaping structures you use to help naturally channel cooler breezes off the water to cool your area. In the more northern reaches of Australias where there is a "wet" season in summer, it can also be useful to use porous structures and ground covers, which absorb water during heavier downpours and allow it to evaporate up as the temperature rises in the early afternoon. This creates a naturally cooling effect.
Commercial landscaping can have an transformative effect not only on the visual characteristics of large spaces but also on the comfort and energy efficiency of the landscaped area and it's surrounds. For more information, work with an experienced commercial landscaping company.