THE SUSTAINABLE SKYLINES INITIATIVE
The Sustainable Skylines initiative is a three-year partnership between the City of Dallas, the
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and the North Central Texas Council of Governments to
promote sustainability within the City via voluntary programs which emphasize air quality
The Sustainable Skylines Initiative (SSI) at EPA provides a framework that, when implemented
in an area, can achieve measurable emissions reductions and promote sustainability in urban
environments. Under the SSI, an area can choose to perform projects from seven categories:
central city livability, stationary and area sources, energy and climate change, land use
transportation strategies, diesel engines emission reduction, green building and green building
development, and off-road/non-road sources (emission reductions).
HOUSTON ADVANCED RESEARCH CENTER
4800 Research Forest Drive • The Woodlands, Texas 77381 • http://www.harc.edu
HARC is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization based in The Woodlands, Texas dedicated to
improving human and ecosystem well-being through the application of sustainability science
and principles of sustainable development. HARC's mission is to move knowledge to action to
improve human well-being and the environment.
– 1 –
DALLAS URBAN HEAT ISLAND OVERVIEW
DALLAS SUSTAINABLE SKYLINES INITIATIVE: DALLAS URBAN HEAT ISLAND STUDY
Many people understand from their own experience that cities are often hotter than rural areas.
Research suggests a difference of 6 to 8ºF. As cities develop, trees and vegetated areas are
reduced, natural surfaces are paved, and buildings constructed. Together these changes
produce the “urban heat island effect” illustrated in Figure 1.
Figure 1. Urban Heat Island Effect
Dallas has recognized heat island concerns in plans and discussions, and there are several
references in the 2006 Dallas Comprehensive Plan, forwardDallas! The plan’s Vision mentions
the heat island effect as a component of policies to help ensure environmental stewardship.1
Heat island policies are also found in other sections of the plan.
“Central to this Key Initiative is identifying, inventorying and protecting important natural resources, sensitive
ecosystems, open spaces and cherished views. Included are policies to mitigate the urban heat island effect,
improve storm water management within the city, reduce smog, expand the absorption capacity of floodplains
and allow the restoration and rehabilitation of Trinity River riparian corridors.” (emphasis added)
The Dallas Urban Heat Island Study examines how and where heat island effects occur in
Dallas and some of the basic tools for reducing impacts, such as expanded tree planting and
conservation, use of cool roofing, and application of cool and porous paving. The study
describes costs and benefits associated with these tools.
FORMATION OF URBAN HEAT ISLANDS
Urban heat island effects were recognized in the 19th century by climatologists who measured