Designing to mitigate urban heat island effects

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Designing to mitigate urban heat island effects

About the speaker
  • Komal Kotwal
    Komal Kotwal
    Founder and Principal Consultant at EquiSustain
    Komal Kotwal specializes in bespoke sustainability consulting and coaching services, with a key focus on the intersection of climate change & health and the integration of equity in design. Before establishing EquiSustain, Komal held the role of firm-wide sustainable design leader for health, well-being and equity-based in HOK’s Houston studio. She has led sustainable design efforts for more than two million square feet of space, including a net-zero project and one million square feet of LEED and WELL Platinum projects. Komal is passionate about the intersection of health, equity and climate change. She is a trusted advisor to clients, helping develop more intentional design strategies and key metrics for human sustainability and community resiliency. She uses intentional design strategies to enhance human behavior and promote physical, mental and emotional well-being. Komal has served on the AIA Houston Board of Directors, the Texas USGBC Regional Council, IWBI's Health Equiy Advisory and the USGBC’s Greenbuild Program Committee. A strong advocate for equity and inclusivity, Komal has served on HOK’s Diversity Advisory Council and is a member of HOK’s Management Board.

Key takeaways

Urban heat islands lead to temperature spikes, lower energy efficiency, and bad air quality, affecting green space-deprived communities.

To counter urban heat islands' downsides, expand urban greenery and adopt energy-efficient materials.

Tackling urban heat islands demands united efforts from planners, policymakers, and communities for effective results.