In 1997, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) established the "Heat Island Reduction Initiative", to quantify the potential benefits of Heat Island Reduction (HIR) strategies (i.e., shade trees, reflective roofs, reflective pavements and urban vegetation) to reduce cooling energy use in buildings, lower the ambient air temperature and improve urban air quality in cities, and reduce CO2 emissions from power plants. Under this initiative, the Urban Heat Island Pilot Project (UHIPP) was created with the objective to investigate the potential of HIR strategies in residential and commercial buildings in three initial UHIPP cities: Baton Rouge, Sacramento and Salt Lake City.
This paper summarizes our efforts to calculate the annual energy savings, peak power avoidance and annuaI CO2 reduction of HIR strategies in the three initial cities. In this analysis, we focused on three building types that offer most savings potential: single-family residence, office and retail store. Each building type was characterized in detail by old or new construction and with a gas furnace or an electric heat pump. We defined prototypical building characteristics for each building type and simulated the impact of HIR strategies on building cooling and heating energy use and peak power demand using the DOE-2.IE model. Our simulations included the impact of (1) strategically-placed shade trees near buildings [direct effect], (2) use of high-albedo roofing material on building [direct effect], (3) combined strategies I and 2 [direct effect], (4) urban reforestation with high-albedo pavements and building surfaces [indirect effect] and (5) combined strategies 1, 2 and 4 [direct and indirect effects]. We then estimated the total roof area of air-conditioned buildings in each city using readily obtainable data to calculate the metropolitan-wide impact of HIR strategies.
The results show, that in Baton Rouge, potential annual energy savings of $15M could be realized by rate-payers from the combined direct and indirect effects of HIR strategies. Additionally, peak power avoidance is estimated at 133 MW and the reduction in annual carbon emissions at 41 kt. In Sacramento, the potential annual energy savings is estimated at $26M, with an avoidance of 486 MW in peak power and a reduction in annual carbon of 92 kt. In Salt Lake City, the potential annual energy savings is estimated at $4M, with an avoidance of 85 MW in peak power and a reduction in annual carbon of 20 kt.