Smart Surfaces Guide
A research team at the Carnegie Mellon University Center for Building Performance and Diagnostics has developed a Smart Surfaces Guidebook for city policymakers to use as a decision-making guide. Rapid urbanization is replacing natural land with dark, impervious surfaces. This has led to dire urban consequences including rising temperatures and stormwater deluge, resulting in significantly higher energy costs, greater stormwater damage, and associated health and comfort impacts. These issues can be mitigated using smart surfaces, those with high reflectivity and permeability, which can achieve sustainable and regenerative cities. The current literature on the benefits of urban surfaces is very segmented, focusing on either one specific surface type or one property of surfaces. A smart surface taxonomy with correlated heat and water metrics has been developed to fill this gap. A range of city surfaces in three broad categories - roofs, streets and sidewalks, and parking lots - have been identified with various levels of reflectivity, and permeability. The development of a smart surface taxonomy with quantified benefits for mitigating or adapting to climate change will be critical for decision-makers to make informed decisions on city surface choices. The Guidebook includes real-world case studies that had applied Smart Surfaces strategies, an introduction to the Smart Surfaces Taxonomy with appealing graphics in surface details, and various Smart Surfaces investment scenarios for policymakers to consider.