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Urban Heat Island Effects in the U.S. – Part 5

The Financial Ramifications of Blistering Summer Heat in the Cities

Silhouette of a city skyline under a blazing sun, with a headline reading "The High Cost of Urban Heat Islands"An urban heat island (UHI) impacts people, the planet— and pocketbooks. The financial consequences of UHIs affect governments, insurance companies, and individuals.

Financial Fallout of Urban Heat Islands

Putting an exact price tag on the cost of urban heat islands is impossible. However, it is obvious the costs to our health, our environment, and our financial resources are far too great.

The economic costs of the urban heat island are astounding:

  • Air conditioning in urban heat islands accounts for 15% of all energy expend annually in the U.S.
  • The Heat Island Group estimates that UHIs in Los Angeles cost $100 million each year in increased energy use.
  • According to the EPA, electricity demands increase up to 2% for every 1°F increase in temperature.
  • The hotter summer temperatures in the city hit the poor especially hard. Many of those killed in the Chicago heat wave of 1995 were found in closed, stifling apartments without any air conditioning.
  • Soaring utility bills for sweltering city dwellers strain pocketbooks. People go out in the heat less. Every dollar spent on a higher utility bill is a dollar not spent in the local economy.
  • Businesses in the city suffer financially from UHIs. Astronomical commercial utility bills increase operational expenses, reducing profits. Consumers also hold off on purchases, as they struggle with higher utilities.
  • Medical bills also cut into family budgets, as respiratory and heat-related illnesses escalate in an urban heat island.
    In 2002, an unusual heat wave across the U.S. increased smog to unsafe levels for over 280 million people. Medical care costs for the increased pollution were estimated at $6.5 billion.
  • One study estimated the 2006 heat wave in California generated over 16,000 additional emergency room visits, racking up almost $5.4 billion dollars in medical costs.

We must look for solutions to diminish the effects causes by UHIs.

Battle Urban Heat Islands by Building with Steel

One way to reduce the financial stresses of an urban heat island on businesses and individuals is to build energy efficient structures from the start. Pre-engineered steel buildings, when properly insulated, slash air-conditioning costs.

RHINO Steel Buildings offers an optional ultra-efficient insulation system with a heavy-duty vapor barrier fabric, batt insulation up to R-38, plus thermal break insulation.

Using RHINO’s Pro-Value system cuts air conditioning and heating bills as much as 50%. Reducing energy usage cuts the output of power plants, decreasing pollution even more. Lower pollution reduces the health problems and environmental impacts of urban heat islands. The results mean less medical costs and infrastructure costs for everyone. It is a cycle of improvement.

Illustrations detail the contents of the RHINO Steel Building Insulation PackageChoosing optional cool-coated steel roofing panels reduces summer energy bills another 7% to 15%. In addition, cool-coated panels reflect radiation back into the atmosphere, creating a cooler environment around the structure.

Learn about The RHINO Difference in steel structures. Call the RHINO number today: 940.383.9566.

Like thousands of our customers who buy repeatedly from RHINO— and refer RHINO to friends and family— you’ll soon be hooked on RHINO steel buildings.