Table of Contents
Urban Studies Research
Volume 2016, Article ID 3626294, 10 pages
Review Article

Potential for Application of Retroreflective Materials instead of Highly Reflective Materials for Urban Heat Island Mitigation

Graduate School of Human Life Science, Osaka City University, Osaka 558-8585, Japan

Received 10 January 2016; Accepted 26 January 2016

Academic Editor: Thomas Panagopoulos

Copyright © 2016 Jihui Yuan et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Research on urban heat island (UHI) mitigation has been carried out globally. Several strategies have been proposed or developed to mitigate UHI, including highly reflective (HR) envelopes of buildings, green roofs, urban vegetation, shading, heat sinks, and air-conditioning efficiency. Among these techniques, HR envelopes have been extensively studied as an effective method to mitigate the UHI effect by reducing energy consumption. However, because most of HR materials are diffusive, HR envelopes applied to vertical surfaces can reflect both onto roads and nearby buildings. Additionally, HR roofs cannot reflect all incoming solar radiation to the sky if there are high buildings around it. Thus, HR materials applied as building envelopes have a limited effect against the solar contribution to the UHI. In order to solve this problem, retroreflective (RR) materials, which reflect the solar radiation back towards the source, have been studied and developed to be applied as building envelopes instead of HR materials. This paper summarizes several previous researches on HR envelopes and cool roofs and summarizes several current researches on RR materials. The potential for application of RR envelopes in cities is proposed with consideration of economic and environmental factors.