Improving Cities for the Environment

10.21.2014 · Posted in Uncategorized

Cities can be one of the most damaging factors to the environment. With a few changes to the way we insulate the buildings, use transportation, and design the city can easily reduce our carbon footprint.

Some simple projects that could cut down the carbon footprint of a building would be painting the roofs of buildings white instead of black. White reflects sunlight which would cool the building because it would absorb less sunlight that would convert into heat energy, so buildings that are in cities closer to the equator would benefit from this. Along with the white roofs, creating green space on roofs would also insulate buildings. The better insulation would mean that there would be less spending on heating and cooling of the building, which would also mean less of a carbon footprint. The plants would also help counter effect the CO2 released by the building by taking in the CO2 and releasing oxygen instead. This saves 15-45% on energy consumption. The green roofs also collect the runoff that is created from rain, and reduces runoff by 50-60%.

Another improvement that could be made for a city would be by putting parking garages under the city instead of having huge parking complexes in the middle of the city. The freed up space that would be left over from the parking garages could then be used for green space. If the newly freed up space became green space this would also then decrease the greenhouse gas effect for the city. The cement that could be used for the garage would attract more sunlight to that area, but since it would be underground the sunlight would not be as absorbed as it would if it was above ground.

Building new skyscrapers in cities creates 136 million tons of waste in America per year. Instead of building new structures like buildings in a city, use buildings that are unoccupied first before building more. This would cut down the amount of CO2 being used to create a new building. Also, the cut down of buildings would also allow for yet again more green space within a city.

Finally, public transportation should be fixed in each city. Public transportation cuts down on the amount of CO2 produced due to people using the public transportation like buses instead of their own vehicles. These buses should however become more ecofriendly by using other fuel like biodiesel instead of just using gas.

-Emily Donahue


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