USA: Extreme heat is a growing business risk
By Katharine Burgess, Vice President of Urban Resilience at the Urban Land Institute; and Elizabeth Foster, Senior Associate of Urban Resilience at the Urban Land Institute
July 2019 was the hottest month on record for the planet, surpassing June 2019, which had previously been declared the hottest month in 139 years. At one point during a mid-July heatwave this year, 128 million people were under excessive heat warnings in the U.S.
Heat-absorbing urban surfaces and building materials, lack of cool green space, waste heat from multiple sources (such as cars) and heat-trapping air pollution all contribute to making cities hotter than their more rural surrounding environments.
Heat-resilient projects can reinforce a developer’s high-quality reputation and contribute to the bottom line. They can be important refuges during extreme-heat events, leading to enhanced asset value, increased sales, higher rent premiums and lower vacancy rates.
In addition, operating costs would decline due to less frequent replacement of heat-damaged materials, lower utility costs and a higher chance of sustained operations during extreme heat events and associated power outages.