The Urban Heat Island Effect

By: Adam Clark, Meteorologist
By: Adam Clark, Meteorologist

The heat this summer can be dangerous…and it can be expensive.

Meteorologist Adam Clark tells us why people who live and work in the city are paying more to cool off than those in the country.

The sun and the city make for dangerous heat. It's called the Urban Heat Island Effect.

It causes temperatures in the city to be 1 to 10 degrees warmer than in rural areas.

Asphalt, buildings, and the lack of trees create a hotter environment for people in urban areas.

That extra heat means extra costs for cooling buildings in the city. And these costs can add up. According to Georgia Power, a business' monthly electric bill can range from $35 to $45 per degree.

In a five-month period, from May to September, you could spend from $175 to $1750 more in the city than in a place in the country. And that's in an energy efficient business.

If you have a less energy efficient building, you could be spending from $225 to $2250 more.

It all depends on how energy efficient your home or business is. Georgia Power says you can save money if you search for efficient ways to save energy.

"You want to pay attention to your insulation, your windows and your doors to make sure your home is tight," says Kline Petty of Georgia Power. "And your weather stripping around your doors."

Trees help reduce the Urban Heat Island Effect. Lighter-colored building materials also help reduce energy absorption from the sun. Dark materials absorb the sun's energy more and end up costing you more.

Georgia Power offers a free service to increase efficiency in your building or home.

If you plan to build or renovate your home, call 1-888-660-5890. Businesses can call 1-888-655-5888.

If you live in South Carolina, go to for energy-saving tips.

Mailing Address: P.O. Box 1212 Augusta, GA 30903 Main Telephone: (803) 278-1212 Newsroom: (803) 278-3111 Fax: (803) 442-4561
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