Variation of rooftop thermal environment with roof typology: a field experiment in Kitakyushu, Japan

Abstract

While urban open spaces have been shrinking with the rapid urbanization, rooftop space use is an alternative solution to such problems. Rooftop thermal environment is a critical consideration under global warming and local warming. Although there have been studies on rooftop thermal environment, variation of rooftop thermal environment with roof typology has not been fully revealed to support rooftop space design. To fill this gap, a field experiment was conducted over green roof (GR), wooden roof (WR), and shaded roof (SR) in a temperate city of Kitakyushu, Japan. Environmental parameters such as solar radiation, air temperature, and relative humidity at different heights of these three roofs were recorded, to understand rooftop thermal environment and daily heat stress variation with rooftop types and the height above roof surface. The results indicate that WR had the highest diurnal near-surface temperature and the worst heat stress, where the near-surface heat stress could even reach the danger level. GR exhibited the lowest diurnal near-surface temperature and heat stress, where the heat stress was only under caution and almost safe condition. SR exhibited the lowest diurnal 1-m temperature and SR had the weakest heat stress, indicating the significance of installing shading devices for rooftop thermal environment improvement and heat stress alleviation. GR exhibited excellent performance in reducing air temperature and heat stress at the pedestrian level, where its worst heat stress was only in caution condition. Compared with that at 1-m height, moreover, 1-cm temperature and heat stress of WR and SR were generally higher, indicating that people may undergo worse heat stress when kneeling or sitting compared with upright activities. Moreover, GR suppressed near-surface heat stress due to its excellent cooling performance.

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Data availability

All data generated or analyzed during the current study are presented in this article. Raw data will be also accessible from the author group if requested.

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Acknowledgements

The authors gratefully acknowledge support from the PhD training program of the University of Kitakyushu. Gaochuan Zhang and Qian Wu warmly celebrate the 40th Anniversary of Zhejiang University of Science and Technology.

Funding

This research was funded by Zhejiang University of Science & Technology (Grant number: F701104K02).

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The first authors of this paper Gaochuan Zhang and Qian Wu have equivalent contributions in terms of field data measurement and data analysis. Gaochuan Zhang also drafted the manuscript. The corresponding author Dr. Bao-Jie He planned the scope of work and designed the research plan. He worked with the first authors to analyze the results and revised the manuscript for submission.

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Correspondence to Bao-Jie He.

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Zhang, G., Wu, Q. & He, BJ. Variation of rooftop thermal environment with roof typology: a field experiment in Kitakyushu, Japan. Environ Sci Pollut Res (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11356-021-12799-9

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Keywords

  • Roof typology
  • Rooftop thermal environment
  • Heat stress
  • Green roof
  • Wooden roof
  • Shaded roof