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Impact of shade on outdoor thermal comfort-a seasonal field study in Tempe, Arizona

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Shade plays an important role in designing pedestrian-friendly outdoor spaces in hot desert cities. This study investigates the impact of photovoltaic canopy shade and tree shade on thermal comfort through

Shade plays an important role in designing pedestrian-friendly outdoor spaces in hot desert cities. This study investigates the impact of photovoltaic canopy shade and tree shade on thermal comfort through meteorological observations and field surveys at a pedestrian mall on Arizona State University's Tempe campus. During the course of 1 year, on selected clear calm days representative of each season, we conducted hourly meteorological transects from 7:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. and surveyed 1284 people about their thermal perception, comfort, and preferences. Shade lowered thermal sensation votes by approximately 1 point on a semantic differential 9-point scale, increasing thermal comfort in all seasons except winter. Shade type (tree or solar canopy) did not significantly impact perceived comfort, suggesting that artificial and natural shades are equally efficient in hot dry climates. Globe temperature explained 51 % of the variance in thermal sensation votes and was the only statistically significant meteorological predictor. Important non-meteorological factors included adaptation, thermal comfort vote, thermal preference, gender, season, and time of day. A regression of subjective thermal sensation on physiological equivalent temperature yielded a neutral temperature of 28.6 °C. The acceptable comfort range was 19.1 °C-38.1 °C with a preferred temperature of 20.8 °C. Respondents exposed to above neutral temperature felt more comfortable if they had been in air-conditioning 5 min prior to the survey, indicating a lagged response to outdoor conditions. Our study highlights the importance of active solar access management in hot urban areas to reduce thermal stress.

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  • 2015-04-13

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Daytime cooling efficiency and diurnal energy balance in Phoenix, Arizona, USA

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Summer daytime cooling efficiency of various land cover is investigated for the urban core of Phoenix, Arizona, using the Local-Scale Urban Meteorological Parameterization Scheme (LUMPS). We examined the urban energy

Summer daytime cooling efficiency of various land cover is investigated for the urban core of Phoenix, Arizona, using the Local-Scale Urban Meteorological Parameterization Scheme (LUMPS). We examined the urban energy balance for 2 summer days in 2005 to analyze the daytime cooling-water use tradeoff and the timing of sensible heat reversal at night. The plausibility of the LUMPS model results was tested using remotely sensed surface temperatures from Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer (ASTER) imagery and reference evapotranspiration values from a meteorological station. Cooling efficiency was derived from sensible and latent heat flux differences. The time when the sensible heat flux turns negative (sensible heat flux transition) was calculated from LUMPS simulated hourly fluxes. Results indicate that the time when the sensible heat flux changes direction at night is strongly influenced by the heat storage capacity of different land cover types and by the amount of vegetation. Higher heat storage delayed the transition up to 3 h in the study area, while vegetation expedited the sensible heat reversal by 2 h. Cooling efficiency index results suggest that overall, the Phoenix urban core is slightly more efficient at cooling than the desert, but efficiencies do not increase much with wet fractions higher than 20%. Industrial sites with high impervious surface cover and low wet fraction have negative cooling efficiencies. Findings indicate that drier neighborhoods with heterogeneous land uses are the most efficient landscapes in balancing cooling and water use in Phoenix. However, further factors such as energy use and human vulnerability to extreme heat have to be considered in the cooling-water use tradeoff, especially under the uncertainties of future climate change.

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  • 2012-08-12