Presentation Title

Estimating the Effects of Village Greens on Localized Air Quality Index and Outdoor Air Temperature in Vermont

Presenter's Name(s)

McKinley DeeryFollow

Project Collaborators

Stephanie Hurley (Thesis Advisor)

Abstract

City cores and urban areas have reached warmer temperatures than surrounding areas due to the urban heat island (UHI) phenomenon. The UHI is caused by land use changes, specifically replacing natural land cover with hard urban surfaces including pavement and built infrastructure, as well as from anthropogenic heat release from fuel combustion within cities. Built materials absorb and retain heat, therefore increasing average outdoor air temperatures, while pollution decreases air quality and contributes to temperature increases. Climate change will most likely cause these conditions to prevail and worsen as heat waves become more intense and frequent. While heat events persist, the need for cooling systems indoors increases and in turn creates a rise in energy consumption and further anthropogenic heat combustion. An increase in urban vegetation can help to reduce the urban heat island effect by shading building surfaces, increasing land albedo, and releasing moisture into the atmosphere.

While several studies have examined the role of urban greenspaces in offsetting urban heat islands, there are few data regarding small-scale UHIs and whether or not they exist in more rural areas. Moreover, there is potential for green spaces within developed rural areas including small towns and villages to improve air quality and decrease outdoor air temperatures on a localized level. In this study, we will determine the air filtration and cooling effects of small-scale village greens throughout Vermont. We will measure air quality index and temperature at different latitudes within each green. Data collection times will be dependent on consistent wind patterns, sun exposure, and cloud coverage. We hypothesize the air quality index to be higher and temperatures to be lower in closest proximity to the center of green; as proximity to the center decreases, the air quality index will decrease, and temperature will increase.

Primary Faculty Mentor Name

Stephanie Hurley

Status

Undergraduate

Student College

College of Agriculture and Life Sciences

Program/Major

Environmental Studies

Primary Research Category

Food & Environment Studies

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Estimating the Effects of Village Greens on Localized Air Quality Index and Outdoor Air Temperature in Vermont

City cores and urban areas have reached warmer temperatures than surrounding areas due to the urban heat island (UHI) phenomenon. The UHI is caused by land use changes, specifically replacing natural land cover with hard urban surfaces including pavement and built infrastructure, as well as from anthropogenic heat release from fuel combustion within cities. Built materials absorb and retain heat, therefore increasing average outdoor air temperatures, while pollution decreases air quality and contributes to temperature increases. Climate change will most likely cause these conditions to prevail and worsen as heat waves become more intense and frequent. While heat events persist, the need for cooling systems indoors increases and in turn creates a rise in energy consumption and further anthropogenic heat combustion. An increase in urban vegetation can help to reduce the urban heat island effect by shading building surfaces, increasing land albedo, and releasing moisture into the atmosphere.

While several studies have examined the role of urban greenspaces in offsetting urban heat islands, there are few data regarding small-scale UHIs and whether or not they exist in more rural areas. Moreover, there is potential for green spaces within developed rural areas including small towns and villages to improve air quality and decrease outdoor air temperatures on a localized level. In this study, we will determine the air filtration and cooling effects of small-scale village greens throughout Vermont. We will measure air quality index and temperature at different latitudes within each green. Data collection times will be dependent on consistent wind patterns, sun exposure, and cloud coverage. We hypothesize the air quality index to be higher and temperatures to be lower in closest proximity to the center of green; as proximity to the center decreases, the air quality index will decrease, and temperature will increase.