50 Grades of Shade

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Abstract

Cities increasingly recognize the importance of shade to reduce heat stress and adopt urban forestry plans with ambitious canopy goals. Yet, the implementation of tree and shade plans often faces maintenance, water use, and infrastructure challenges. Understanding the performance of natural and non-natural shade is critical to support active shade management in the built environment. We conducted hourly transects in Tempe, Arizona with the mobile human-biometeorological station MaRTy on hot summer days to quantify the efficacy of various shade types. We sampled sun-exposed reference locations and shade types grouped by urban form, lightweight/engineered shade, and tree species over multiple ground surfaces. We investigated shade performance during the day, at peak incoming solar, peak air temperature, and after sunset using three thermal metrics: the difference between a shaded and sun-exposed location in air temperature (ΔTa), surface temperature (ΔTs), and mean radiant temperature (ΔTMRT). ΔTa did not vary significantly between shade groups, but ΔTMRT spanned a 50°C range across observations. At daytime, shade from urban form most effectively reduced Ts and TMRT, followed by trees and lightweight structures. Shade from urban form performed differently with changing orientation. Tree shade performance varied widely; native and palm trees were least effective, while non-native trees were most effective. All shade types exhibited heat retention (positive ΔTMRT) after sunset. Based on the observations, we developed characteristic shade performance curves that will inform the City of Tempe’s design guidelines towards using “the right shade in the right place” and form the basis for the development of microclimate zones (MCSz).

Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Ariane Middel, School of Arts, Media and Engineering, School of Computing, Informatics, and Decision Systems Engineering, Arizona State University, 950 S. Forest Mall, Stauffer B, Tempe, AZ 85281; telephone: +1 480-414-6793; e-mail: ariane.middel@asu.edu.

Abstract

Cities increasingly recognize the importance of shade to reduce heat stress and adopt urban forestry plans with ambitious canopy goals. Yet, the implementation of tree and shade plans often faces maintenance, water use, and infrastructure challenges. Understanding the performance of natural and non-natural shade is critical to support active shade management in the built environment. We conducted hourly transects in Tempe, Arizona with the mobile human-biometeorological station MaRTy on hot summer days to quantify the efficacy of various shade types. We sampled sun-exposed reference locations and shade types grouped by urban form, lightweight/engineered shade, and tree species over multiple ground surfaces. We investigated shade performance during the day, at peak incoming solar, peak air temperature, and after sunset using three thermal metrics: the difference between a shaded and sun-exposed location in air temperature (ΔTa), surface temperature (ΔTs), and mean radiant temperature (ΔTMRT). ΔTa did not vary significantly between shade groups, but ΔTMRT spanned a 50°C range across observations. At daytime, shade from urban form most effectively reduced Ts and TMRT, followed by trees and lightweight structures. Shade from urban form performed differently with changing orientation. Tree shade performance varied widely; native and palm trees were least effective, while non-native trees were most effective. All shade types exhibited heat retention (positive ΔTMRT) after sunset. Based on the observations, we developed characteristic shade performance curves that will inform the City of Tempe’s design guidelines towards using “the right shade in the right place” and form the basis for the development of microclimate zones (MCSz).

Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Ariane Middel, School of Arts, Media and Engineering, School of Computing, Informatics, and Decision Systems Engineering, Arizona State University, 950 S. Forest Mall, Stauffer B, Tempe, AZ 85281; telephone: +1 480-414-6793; e-mail: ariane.middel@asu.edu.
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