Cool idea to reduce city temps earns Aussie scientist international award

Source: Xinhua| 2019-09-23 13:41:25|Editor: Shi Yinglun
Video PlayerClose

SYDNEY, Sept. 23 (Xinhua) -- A cool head has prevailed for Australian scientist, Professor Mattheos Santamouris, whose research into urban overheating earned him a World Society of Sustainable Energy Technologies (WSSET) Innovation Award.

On Monday, Santamouris was revealed as the winner of 2019's WSSET Innovation Award in the Low Carbon Buildings and Future Cities category.

The award recognises roughly two decades of research by Santamouris and his colleagues at Australia's University of New South Wales (UNSW), into urban overheating -- the problem of cities becoming significantly warmer than surrounding areas due to manmade structures.

Santamouris says that the main culprits for increasing city temperatures are hard, heat-absorbing surfaces such as asphalt roads and concrete buildings and footpaths.

The issue is known to affect more than 500 cities worldwide, including the growing urban hub of Parramatta in Sydney's western Suburbs.

"Cities have a serious problem with overheating. In western Sydney, for example, you may have temperatures that are nine or ten degrees warmer than the eastern part of the city because of the thermal balance," Santamouris said.

Santomouris and his team are using "smart materials" to dramatically reduce surface temperatures, including colour changing paint to keep cities warm in winter and cool in summer.

"By using and implementing the heat mitigation technologies we have developed, it is possible to decrease the temperatures of cities by 3 degrees, which reduces morbidity and mortality, and increases the level of comfort for people," he said.

Cooling a city's ambient temperature also reduces the need for energy consumptive measures such as air conditioning, which are high demand as Parramatta's temperature soars well above Australia's already scorching average temperatures.

Currently Santamouris' team are aiming to reduce the temperature in Parramatta by 2 degrees which they estimate will improve comfort by 80 percent, by introducing more greenery, misting stations and eventually their smarter, cooler pavements.