This book summarizes the findings from a series of studies conducted in Europe to investigate the impact of heat island effect on cooling demand for both commercial and residential buildings. The studies cover urban areas in three European countries: France, Greece, and Spain. It is believed that higher ambient air temperatures observed in densely urban areas along with an increase in living standards are causing higher cooling loads and increasing demand for cooling equipment in buildings.

First, the book documents the heat island effect in Europe. For instance, it is reported that daytime ambient temperatures in the central area of Athens are 15° C (27° F) higher than those observed in the suburban areas. These higher temperatures resulted in doubling the cooling degree-days in the central area compared to the suburban areas of Athens. The central urban area is characterized by a high building density and heavy car traffic, while the suburban areas have high vegetation and tree density and low circulation load.

Then, the book outlines some of the potential solutions to reduce the cooling loads for building and reduce the pollution associated with mechanical cooling equipment. The solutions discussed in the book are categorized into two groups.

  • Passive cooling techniques such as planting trees and vegetation to reduce ambient air temperatures and shading; use of light-colored roofs and walls to reduce solar heat gain, providing natural ventilation for cooling; installing planting roofs to reduce building envelope surface temperatures; and using downdraft evaporative cooling towers (PDEC) in arid climates.

  • Active cooling systems such as energy efficient cooling equipment, including individual room air conditioners (RACs) and central air conditioners (CACs). New performance metrics for the cooling equipment are described to reflect the European operating conditions. These metrics are suggested to help policy makers, professionals, and building operators and owners in better assessing energy efficiency of cooling equipment available in the market.

Several case studies are presented at the end of the book to document the specific studies that have been conducted in three European cities (Athens, Paris, and Seville) to investigate the heat island effects and the effectiveness of various passive and active cooling systems.

This book is generally well organized even though it can benefit from a thorough technical editing. It is highly recommended for those readers interested in learning more about the heat island effect and its impact on the increasing demand for cooling buildings in Europe. The book is also valuable for documenting the effectiveness of some strategies and techniques proposed to meet and/or reduce the ever-increasing cooling demands in urban areas around European cities.