Regional climate change in cities is the most documented phenomenon of climate change. Higher urban temperatures are documented experimentally for more than 450 major cities in the world. Numerous investigations demonstrate that the mean magnitude of the temperature increase may exceed 4-6°C, while at the peak it may exceed 10°C. The serious increase of the frequency and the strength of heat waves creates strong synergies between the global and regional climate change and intensifies the magnitude of the overheating.
In Australia, it is expected that Sydney and Melbourne will have 50°C+ summer days in the near future, with Western Sydney already reaching 48.9°C in January 2020. Urban overheating can cause a serious impact both on the energy demand and generation sectors. It increases the cooling energy consumption of buildings, rises the peak electricity demand, and obliges utilities to build additional power plants. It seriously affects health issues, particularly heat related mortality and morbidity, impacts the concentration of pollutants and damages the urban environmental quality, and finally deteriorates the levels of local vulnerability and thermal comfort. To counterbalance the problem of urban overheating, developing mitigation policies, appropriate intervention strategies and technologies become an urgent task.
The High Performance Architecture (HPA) research cluster comprises the international research leader in the field of urban overheating mitigation. It has also extensive and practical real-world industry experience in responding to the challenge of urban overheating in cities. The HPA team has conducted a wide range of case study investigations of international and Australian cities such as Riyadh (one of the world's hottest cities), Sydney/Western Sydney, Melbourne, Darwin and Alice Springs, as well as developed an innovative Urban Heat Island (UHI) Mitigation Decision-Support Tool and Performance Index. Specific research areas include: