Green spaces

Green space cooling effect

The incorporation of extensive blue and green infrastructure into the masterplan can help to locally reduce the indoor and outdoor temperature, reducing the urban heat island effect. Green walls, green roofs, trees, and bodies of water including those provided through SuDs in the landscape strategy will assist to keep the local temperature lower and aid in cooling. While it is widely understood that green and blue spaces reduce local temperatures, these measures should be used in combination with other building design based solar gain mitigation measures. Specifying large areas of hard, dark-coloured surfaces increases local air temperatures where it receives direct sunlight. This is because darker colours absorb the suns rays, known as the albedo effect.


Trees can provide additional shading to buildings and public realm. Deciduous trees allow for sunlight and solar gains to reach the buildings in winter when the leaves fall, while providing shading in summer. The size and age of trees can make the amount and longevity of shading difficult to predict. Therefore, shade from trees should not be relied upon as an overheating mitigation measure, they simply supplement the overall building design. When designing external spaces consider how much sunlight will be received on planted areas and select appropriate species to suit. Bird and bee houses also require specific conditions related to solar access.

Design Actions

  • Use extensive green and blue infrastructure to reduce local temperatures
  • Use trees as an additional measure to supplement building design features to prevent overheating in buildings.
  • Select plants and habitat features to suit solar access.

Page updated: 27/09/2022

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