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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/P023819/1
Title: InfruTreeCity: Understanding Infrared radiative performance of urban trees for better future city
Principal Investigator: Shao, Professor L
Other Investigators:
Smith, Dr S T Pickles, Dr B
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Reading Borough Council Royal Horticultural Society STFC Laboratories (Grouped)
Department: Construction Management and Engineering
Organisation: University of Reading
Scheme: Standard Research
Starts: 01 January 2018 Ends: 30 September 2022 Value (£): 573,807
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Building Ops & Management Urban & Land Management
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
09 Feb 2017 Engineering Prioritisation Panel Meeting 9 and 10 February 2017 Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
Urban green spaces and trees have substantial beneficial effects on people's health, thermal comfort, pollution and noise reduction, sustainable urban drainage and carbon sequestration. The proposed research focuses on the radiative thermal performance of urban trees in the context of summer thermal comfort and cooling energy consumption in towns and cities that are subject to increasing heat stress under projected climate change.

Trees and green spaces offer significant cooling benefits, thereby helping to create comfortable micro-climates in towns and cities. They are also effective, though to a lesser extent, in ameliorating the urban heat island (UHI) effect. Buildings shaded by trees experience 25-50% reduction of cooling load, often removing the need for energy intensive mechanical cooling.

The effective use of trees and green spaces in urban environments by building designers and urban planners has been impeded by the lack of fundamental insights and quantitative information. It has been found that tree species differ by up to 9C in their canopy surface temperatures. Choosing the right tree species for urban planting schemes is critical for maximizing their cooling effects, but systematic information is currently not available. A further obstacle is the lack of an integrated multidisciplinary approach to the investigation of thermal performance of urban trees, where a tree or a group of trees were treated as a 'black box' , i.e., without consideration of the fundamental physical and (plant) physiological processes, nor the influence of the urban environment on these processes. The results thus have limited applicability to other urban settings. Crucially, the consideration of infrared radiation, which accounts for over 50% of the solar radiation reaching the Earth, is largely missing in previous investigations.

The proposed study aims to overcome these obstacles by investigating urban tree - built environment interactions, focusing on infrared radiative energy exchange, and in the context of prevention of summer overheating in cities. Specific objectives include:

- quantify, for the first time, radiative and other cooling mechanisms of selected common urban trees based on a multidisciplinary approach that integrates building and climate physics with plant physiology, addressing radiative energy exchange, tree physiological processes, urban built forms and materials and the influences of tree forms and species;

- provide guidance to building / landscape designers and urban planners for effective integration of trees in towns and cities including tree species selection and appropriate urban form and building materials;

- develop an online presentation tool to allow rapid access to and effective utilisation of the results and guidance generated from the work.

Key Findings
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Organisation Website: http://www.rdg.ac.uk