Urban Heat Island: Cincinnati


What do you see in this satellite image of Cincinnati’s Over the Rhine neighborhood?

Chris Meyer, our Operations Director, points out that there are ‘black roofs’ everywhere.

Dark surfaces on roads and roofs in cities absorb heat and can affect regional energy use and health. Applying a white or reflective coating to the roof of a building or house costs very little and substantially reduces the heat island effect for downtown Cincinnati.

Here’s a data-rich infographic from that explores the impact of the difference between white and black roofs.




Energy Tip: Fall DIY Check List

1. Replace Furnace Air Filter

Make sure your furnace is ready to work! Start the cold season with a clean air filter and do the research about your system to find out how often your filters should be changed or cleaned to keep your furnace working efficiently and to maintain healthy indoor air quality. Now is also a good time to schedule furnace maintenance with your HVAC provider.


2. Clean, Re-Caulk, and Weatherize Windows

Fall is a great time to wash the exterior of your windows (before it gets too cold) and to inspect the exterior caulking of wood framed windows. Remember, even if you have high efficiency windows, if they are not sealed around the frames, you will lose a lot of heat through air infiltration. If you need to recaulk your windows, remove the old caulk, use an appropriate heavy-duty exterior window caulk, and press into place to ensure a good seal. Install weather strips on the interior of windows while you’re at it! A good test you can do is to close your window on a sheet of paper. If you can remove the paper, you need to address the seal of the window.


3. Check Roof for Leaks

It is a good idea to inspect your roof for critter or weather damage before we are left with short days and cold nights. Inspect for leaks inside. Outside, look for lifted shingles, wood chips, or shavings. If the damage is only shingle deep, all you need are some matching shingles and roofing nails to keep your house covered. If there is more extensive damage, call a professional.


4. Winterize Electrical Outlets

Electrical penetrations and outlets are often an avenue for air infiltration in the home, contributing to draftiness and energy waste. If you remove the faceplates of your outlets, especially of exterior walls, you can accomplish two things: check the integrity of the wiring (look for missing caps, blackened wires, and check the output with a handheld meter while you’re at it), and you can insulate and air seal the cavity with foam gaskets before replacing the faceplate. Don’t forget to shut off your electricity if you need to repair any of the wiring of the outlet!


5. Assess the Attic

If you do one thing this winter, change your furnace filters. Make your second task winterizing your windows and doors. Third on that list should be addressing the dreaded attic: insulation, sealing, and ventilation. Consult our Know Thy Attic article to get started.