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Open Access Publications from the University of California

A simple tool for estimating city-wide annual electrical energy savings from cooler surfaces

  • Author(s): Pomerantz, M
  • Rosado, PJ
  • Levinson, R
  • et al.

We present a simple method to estimate the maximum possible energy saving that might be achieved by increasing the albedo of surfaces in a large city. We restrict this to the "indirect effect", the cooling of outside air that lessens the demand for air conditioning (AC). Given the power demand of the electric utilities and data about the city, we can use a single linear equation to estimate the maximum saving. For example, the result for an albedo change of 0.2 of pavements in a typical warm city in California, such as Sacramento, is that the saving is less than about 2 kW·h of electrical energy per modified m per year. This may help decision makers choose which heat island mitigation techniques are economical from an energy-saving perspective. 2

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