Evaluating mitigation effects of urban heat islands in a historical small center with the ENVI-Met® climate model

Dario Ambrosini, Giorgio Galli, Biagio Mancini, Iole Nardi, Stefano Sfarra

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

59 Citations (Scopus)


Urban morphology and increasing building density play a key role in the overall use of energy and promotion of environmental sustainability. The urban environment causes a local increase of temperature, a phenomenon known as Urban Heat Island (UHI). The purpose of this work is the study of the possible formation of an UHI and the evaluation of its magnitude, in the context of a small city, carried out with the ENVI-met® software. For this purpose, a simulation was needed, and this simulation is preparatory for a monitoring campaign on site, which will be held in the immediate future. ENVI-met® simulates the temporal evolution of several thermodynamics parameters on a micro-scale range, creating a 3D, non-hydrostatic model of the interactions between building-atmosphere-vegetation. The weather conditions applied simulate a typical Italian summer heat wave. Three different case-studies have been analyzed: Base Case, Cool Case and Green Case. Analysis of the actual state in the Base Case shows how even in an area with average building density, such as the old town center of a small city, fully developed UHI may rise with strong thermal gradients between built areas and open zones with plenty of vegetation. These gradients arise in a really tiny space (few hundreds of meters), showing that the influence of urban geometry can be decisive in the characterization of local microclimate. Simulations, carried out considering the application of green or cool roofs, showed small relevant effects as they become evident only in large areas heavily built up (metropolis) subject to more intense climate conditions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7013-7029
Number of pages17
JournalSustainability (Switzerland)
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Cool roof
  • Green roof
  • Urban heat island

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law

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