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RI06: Urban albedo: developing a canyon albedo calculator (2022) (pdf)
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RI06: Urban albedo: developing a canyon albedo calculator (2022) (pdf)

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Urban albedo, the capacity of urban surfaces to reflect solar radiation, is one of the most important contributors to changes in outdoor temperature, intensifying the urban heat island phenomenon. As a result, it has significant implications for the urban microclimate, affecting thermal comfort conditions as well as building performance and energy consumption, all of which become more pronounced under climate change.

Urban albedo is affected by various parameters, such as the geometry of the urban configuration, the materials and the geographic location. However, most modelling studies approximate the urban albedo by using surface albedo, which can lead to significant errors in the modelling process. The research project ‘Urban albedo computation in high latitude locations: An experimental approach’ was primarily motivated by the need to provide accurate albedo estimates for urban configurations, which are lacking in most urban heat island models used to mitigate albedo’s effects. The project proposed a novel experimental study for the computation of urban albedo in high latitude locations, using London as a representative urban environment in the UK and employing laboratory and field measurements and computational methods to construct an albedo calculation tool


1 Background to the research project

2 The experimental model

3 Canyon albedo profiles

3.1 The effect of horizontal and vertical surfaces on canyon albedo

3.2 The impact of orientation and aspect ratio

3.3 The effect of rainfall

3.4 Infrared albedo

4 Simulations on the effectiveness of reflective materials in urban canyons

4.1 Impact of horizontal and vertical surface on canyon albedo

4.2 Impact of reflective materials on outdoor thermal comfort

4.3 Impact of reflective materials on the indoor operative temperature in urban canyons

5 Impact of weathering on material surface properties

6 Urban Canyon Albedo Calculator

7 Conclusions

Annex: Published outputs from the project

Authors: Marialena Nikolopoulou, Alkis Kotopouleas, Giridharan Renganathan, Richard Watkins and Muhammed Yeninarcilar (University of Kent), Maria Kolokotroni and Agnese Salvati (Brunel University London), Bala Vaidhyanathan and Aashu Anshuman (Loughborough University)