Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department


Major Professor

Daniel Powers, M.Arch.

Committee Member

John McKenna, M. Arch.

Committee Member

Daniel Yeh, Ph.D.


Energy conservation, Office building, Façade specialization, Roof garden, Solar orientation


Most scientists agree that the earth's temperature continues to rise. The heat gain is more pronounced in urban areas due to a phenomenon known as the urban heat island effect. The urban heat island effect is a seemingly inevitable result of urban development, which has far reaching consequences. With energy costs skyrocketing and the destruction of the environment at risk, urban structures and buildings must do more to make our urban settings more environmentally friendly.

So far, there are two well known ways to combat these effects. First, the heat island can be slightly be negated by adding well-watered vegetation to a site. Second, is to use building materials and systems that reflect the light, thus increasing the overall albedo of an urban area. Albedo is the ratio of the light energy is reflected compared that of which is absorbed. The combinations of these two practices are some of the components in green architecture.

To Date, the United States has been slow to adopt policies that reduce the urban heat gain. Likewise, developers have been hesitant to construct these buildings due to implied cost and lack of knowledge. The intent of this project is to show that there are many strategies and design features that can be implemented to combat the urban heat island effect, even in the most challenging locations. The project will also employ green architecture methods in a commercial sector that has yet to fully grasp the potential to reduce heat gain and lower the urban heat island effects.

To aid in the research, this project will detail buildings that are already addressing the urban heat island. The document will identify the most effective and inexpensive ways to solve this problem. It will also describe what can be done to reduce heat waste generated by lighting and cooling. In doing so, the information garnered should lead to design strategies that new buildings can utilize to reduce the urban heat island effect.