Planting for Thermal Comfort (01-02-19)

Zolch and colleagues studied how the presence of plants influences comfort in public squares, and their findings are applicable in many outdoor spaces.  The team learned that “At daytime designs with a maximum shaded area provide best thermal conditions. . . . At night unhindered air flow and reduced heat storage in meadows performed best.”  More details on the Zolch-lead study: “The present study assessed typical greening designs of rectangular public squares and their microclimatic influences during a hot summer day both during day and night-time conditions. . . . for a comfortable thermal situation a climate adapted design has to include trees to maximize the shaded surface areas, while the main wind channel is kept free from trees, but planted with grass to minimize the heat storage. The number of trees and their placement together with the extent and placement of grass areas can thus serve as indicators for designing climate adapted public squares.”

Teresa Zolch, Mohammad Rahman, Elisabeth Pfleiderer, Georg Wagner, and Stephan Pauleit.  “Designing Public Squares with Green Infrastructure to Optimize Human Thermal Comfort.”  Building and Environment, in press,