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Feeling the heat: Call for more green space



Featured | News | SME Inspiration | Sustainability

By Stephanie Zillman

Small business may feel like bit players in the fight against climate change, but as Australia sets to sizzle this week, industry bodies are affirming we can all make an impact.

One such way is by increasing urban green space to mitigate the impact of heatwaves.

Sustainable urban development expert, Professor Steffen Lehmann from the University of South Australia, said research has proven that a 10 per cent increase in urban green space can decrease surface temperatures by 4 degrees Celsius.

Such spaces may include more trees and green roofs, with urban tree canopies being coined as the answer to carbon intensive cooling measures. Cumulatively these measures can reduce air conditioning costs and emissions.

Also an advocate for the 202020 Vision – a national initiative to increase urban green spaces by 20% by 2020 – Professor Lehmann said a key hurdle is simply raising awareness of the positive impact that can be made.

“Research shows that urban areas with more trees are cooler, and in turn minimise the likelihood of heat stress sweeping the country,” Lehmann said, adding that the reduction in urban space is a major concern.

“Hand-in-hand with heat related health issues, more trees can also save business and consumers money as cooler cities mean less demand on utilities. Increased urban green space also means heightened levels of productivity by up to 38 per cent for businesses,” Lehmann commented.

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