This paper summarizes results from a mesoscale modeling study to quantify the possible meteorological and energy-use impacts of large-scale increases in surface albedo and vegetative fraction. Ten regions in the U.S. were characterized and simulated in base- and modified-surface conditions. Time- and space-dependent meteorological variables were simulated for each region in four 3-day episodes to represent a range of seasonal variations.
Using a simple interpolative procedure, a complete year of hourly weather data was created for each region (based on episodic meteorological simulation results) and input into energy-use models. The modified weather input was used to assess the effects of large-scale albedo and vegetative fraction changes on annual energy consumption in each of the ten areas targeted in this study. The simulations suggest annual electricity savings of between 1 and 6.7 kWh m−2 (of roof area) in residential neighborhoods and between 2 and 6.1 kWh m−2 in office areas, depending on region. Annual gas penalties amount to up to 34.8 MJ m−2 (of roof area) in residential neighborhoods and up to 21.1 MJ m−2 in office areas.