With the expected increase in warmer conditions caused by climate change, heat-related illnesses are becoming a more pressing issue. One way that humans can protect themselves from this is to seek shade. The design of urban spaces can provide individuals with a variety of ways to obtain this shade. The objective of this study was to perform a detailed evaluation and comparison of three shading strategies that could be used in an urban environment: shade from a building, from a tree, and from an umbrella. This was done through using field measurements to calculate the impact of each strategy on a thermal comfort index (Comfort Formula (COMFA)) in two urban settings during sunny days of the summer of 2013 and 2014 in London, Canada. Building shade was found to be the most effective cooling strategy, followed by the tree strategy and the umbrella strategy. As expected, the main determinant of this ranking was a strategy’s ability to block incoming shortwave radiation. Further analysis indicated that changes in the convective loss of energy and in longwave radiation absorption had a smaller impact that caused variations in the strategy effectiveness between settings. This suggests that under non-sunny days, these rankings could change.
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