Presentation Title

The Cost of Extreme Heat: A Cost/Benefit Analysis of Three Heat-Ameliorating Interventions in Portland, Oregon

Start Date

February 2018

End Date

February 2018

Abstract

The detrimental, sometimes fatal effects of urban heat are well documented, and it is generally accepted that extreme heat poses a threat to human health and quality of life. Less understood is the financial impact of heat, including such factors as energy consumption, health care expenses, and the economic loss associated with premature death. This analysis examines several potential cost factors associated with extreme heat, as well as the potential savings offered by three heat-ameliorating interventions: eco roof installation, road lightening, and street tree planting. The cost of each intervention is assessed based on the best available data, and compared to the expected financial benefits for Portland, Oregon, with focus given to the hottest, most exposed census block groups (CBGs) One extreme heat event can cause billions of dollars of damage in health costs alone (premature death, emergency room visits, treatment of illness). This analysis shows that any/all of the three proposed interventions (which cost anywhere from $17-160 million each to implement in the hottest CBGs) are well worth the price, and that the cost-saving benefits far outweigh the implementation costs. Furthermore, street trees have the added financial benefit of increasing property values and property tax revenue. Results strongly indicate that heat-ameliorating interventions are a smart investment for the City of Portland, particularly as climate change causes more frequent and severe urban heat waves.

Subjects

Climate Change, Environmental policy, Sustainable development

Persistent Identifier

https://archives.pdx.edu/ds/psu/25630

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The Cost of Extreme Heat: A Cost/Benefit Analysis of Three Heat-Ameliorating Interventions in Portland, Oregon

The detrimental, sometimes fatal effects of urban heat are well documented, and it is generally accepted that extreme heat poses a threat to human health and quality of life. Less understood is the financial impact of heat, including such factors as energy consumption, health care expenses, and the economic loss associated with premature death. This analysis examines several potential cost factors associated with extreme heat, as well as the potential savings offered by three heat-ameliorating interventions: eco roof installation, road lightening, and street tree planting. The cost of each intervention is assessed based on the best available data, and compared to the expected financial benefits for Portland, Oregon, with focus given to the hottest, most exposed census block groups (CBGs) One extreme heat event can cause billions of dollars of damage in health costs alone (premature death, emergency room visits, treatment of illness). This analysis shows that any/all of the three proposed interventions (which cost anywhere from $17-160 million each to implement in the hottest CBGs) are well worth the price, and that the cost-saving benefits far outweigh the implementation costs. Furthermore, street trees have the added financial benefit of increasing property values and property tax revenue. Results strongly indicate that heat-ameliorating interventions are a smart investment for the City of Portland, particularly as climate change causes more frequent and severe urban heat waves.