Use Of Air Conditioners Can Raise City Temperatures By Few Degrees








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The increasing use of air-conditioners are raising temperatures across cities. A recent global report on urban health said that using air-conditioners at night can add one degree Celsius to the temperature in a metropolis. It also says that “heat island effects” can make cities hotter by one to three degrees Celsius during the day and one to two degrees Celsius warmer in the evening.
While acknowledging that the use of air-conditioners is a difficult problem to resolve in conditions of extreme temperatures, the report by the World Health Organisation and UN-Habitat said that one person’s air-conditioner can keep them from suffering from heat effects, but the air-conditioner would be exacerbating the city’s overall heat.
According to the report, cities, experience higher temperatures than rural areas due to what is called the “urban heat island effect”. This is the result of a combination of factors emerging from the urban built environment and human activities including use of cooling machines and more vehicles.
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“Urban residents are more dependent on air-conditioning, cooled water and artificial lighting in shaded offices and rely more on private motor vehicles. However, by using these modern conveniences, residents increase the generation of anthropogenic heat waste and carbon emissions, further contributing to the urban heat island and global warming,” the report said.
It further said that the combined impact of the urban heat island effect with a heat wave can be devastating and older adults as well as infants face higher health risk.

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Suggesting ways to deal with such a situation, the report has suggested the need to raise public awareness, developing early warning systems that provide advance notice to the public about predicting high temperatures and increasing capacity among healthcare workers to recognize and treat heat-related illnesses.
The long-term initiatives include using reflective and permeable pavements that can replace impermeable surfaces in cities and reduce urban temperatures besides the increasing green cover.

In fact, some cities have gone for targeted interventions on rooftops. Toronto was among the first in the world to adopt a policy mandating green roofs for buildings of a certain height. Los Angeles has mandated buildings to adopt lighter colored reflective roofs. Paris has passed legislation to pursue green roofing and solar panel roofs.
Source: indiatimes | 1





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