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Preparing Your Property for an Unprecedented Summer Heatwave


how to prepare your property for summer heatwave


Temperatures in 2024 Summer Could be Unusually Hot, WMO Warns 


The UN weather agency, the World Meteorological Organization, has warned that there is a “high probability” that 2024 will be another record-hot year that surpasses the previous year's record. 2023 was the hottest year on record by a significant margin, with average temperatures nearing 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels. 



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As per the European Union’s Copernicus Climate Change Service, the 12-month period from March 2023 to February 2024 witnessed temperatures surpassing the 1.5-degree Celsius limit, with an average increase of 1.56°C (2.81°F). Although 2023 narrowly missed the 1.5°C mark at 1.48°C (2.66°F), the exceptionally high temperatures observed in early 2024 pushed the 12-month average beyond this critical threshold. February of 2024 set a new record as the hottest February globally, characterized by "exceptionally high" temperatures in both the air and sea. 


“Climate change is the biggest challenge that humanity faces. It is affecting all of us, especially the most vulnerable,” said WMO Secretary-General Professor Celeste Saulo. 

 



how to proactively prepare your property for summer heatwave


Be Proactive and Prepare 


As temperatures are expected to hit a record level this summer, property owners and managers are to face increasing challenges in preparing their buildings and facilities to withstand extreme heat. Ensuring the comfort and safety of occupants during hot weather is essential. We have asked seasoned veterans about what property owners and managers should do to prepare for rising temperatures. 

 


  • HVAC Maintenance and Upgrades: One of the first steps property owners take is to inspect and maintain their heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems. This task includes cleaning or replacing filters, checking refrigerant levels, and ensuring that all components are functioning efficiently. Depending on your circumstances and needs, it might be a good investment to upgrade your HVAC systems to newer models that are more energy-efficient and better equipped to handle higher cooling demands. 

  • Additional Cooling Strategies: Implementing additional cooling strategies beyond traditional HVAC systems may be a good idea. For instance, setting up fans or evaporative coolers in common areas, especially in areas without central air conditioning, can offer effective cooling. For outdoor spaces, misting systems or outdoor cooling stations can help manage temperatures. 

 


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  • Window Treatments: This relatively simple task may save you big bucks in the long run. Installing energy-efficient window treatments such as blinds, shades, or tinted films can prevent excess heat from entering buildings. By reducing the need for excessive air conditioning, these treatments contribute to cost savings. 

  • Roof and Insulation: Proper insulation is crucial for maintaining indoor temperatures and reducing energy costs during hot weather. We highly recommend inspecting roofs for any damage or wear and tear that could compromise insulation effectiveness. In addition, consider applying reflective coatings or installing cool roofs. They can reflect sunlight and reduce heat absorption. 



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  • Water Management: Proper water management is crucial in hot weather to maintain healthy landscapes and conserve water resources. We generally advise to install irrigation systems with timers to optimize water usage and prevent overwatering. In addition, utilizing drought-tolerant plants and adopting water-saving landscaping methods can reduce water consumption. 

  • Emergency Preparedness: Last but not least, extreme heat events can pose health risks to occupants, especially vulnerable populations such as the elderly or those with pre-existing medical conditions. Property managers develop emergency plans that include protocols for dealing with heat-related illnesses, ensuring access to cooling centres or shaded areas, and communicating heat safety tips to residents. 



how to prepare your property for summer heatwave green landscape


  • Green landscape: Planting trees is a smart approach to tackle heat-related challenges. Trees offer natural shade that helps regulate temperatures as well as decrease the urban heat island effect. We recommend choosing trees that provide cooling shade with their broad canopies and high transpiration rates: London Plane (Platanus × acerifolia), Red Maple (Acer rubrum), Bald Cypress (Taxodium distichum), River Birch (Betula nigra), and American Sycamore (Platanus occidentalis) can be good choices. 


 

To prepare properties for the unprecedented heat effectively, a holistic approach is necessary: It involves building maintenance, energy conservation, landscaping, and tenant involvement. As climate change's impacts become more severe, property owners and managers must keep innovating and adapting to ensure their buildings are comfortable, safe, and sustainable in a warmer world. 

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