Author: Holly Edgell

The future of the Midwest includes hazardous heat, and most of our homes are not ready

Source(s): Nebraska Public Media

As temperatures start to cool in September, it might be easy to forget the scorching heat of just a month before. In middle to late August, parts of the Midwest experienced a streak of “feels like” temperatures of more than 100 degrees Fahrenheit.


About a year ago, a research and technology nonprofit called First Street Foundation released its “extreme heat belt” map. It shows that within about 30 years, Americans across the Midwest and parts of the South will face heat indices (or “feels like” temperatures) of 125 degrees or higher with greater frequency.


Designers and architects say houses and apartments are vulnerable to extreme heat for a variety of reasons. Whether old or new, a structure may not be airtight at its seams and roofline or may be on a lot without trees and other vegetation. Even dark exterior paint colors and orientation in relation to the sun can make a difference to inside temperatures.


Researchers and architects in Arizona, with its already scorching climate, are developing promising models for sustainable and climate resilient housing. However, as the Arizona Republic found, the state faces a similar quagmire to the Midwest: confusing and outdated building codes, high costs, and what Diane Pataki, a professor at Arizona State University, describes as inertia.


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Hazards Heatwave
Country and region United States of America
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