MEFL launched the findings from our Cooling Communities project last month. This project saw MEFL and Moreland City Council retrofit ten social housing properties in Moreland to improve understanding of the actions required to mitigate impacts of the Urban Heat Island Effect (UHIE). The project was funded through DELWP’s Victorian Climate Change Grants 2015.
Upgrade works included improvements to building fabric (insulation, draught proofing and external shading), natural cooling from trees and vegetation, and mechanical upgrades (fans and reverse-cycle air-conditioners).
The study found that prior to the upgrades several of the social housing properties in the study posed real threats to residents’ health and wellbeing during extended hot spells. Whilst no heatwaves were experienced in Melbourne during the study period, in January 2017 heatwave conditions were recorded inside one of the properties. In addition there were several properties in a recently constructed apartment block, where internal temperatures failed to drop below 27 degrees Celsius over a five-day period.
Failure to provide adequate protection from the heat was not limited to the apartments, with residents in single-storey homes also experiencing discomfort. These properties however had more retrofit options than the apartments.
The report can be downloaded from the Moreland Zero Carbon website