Beating the Heat: A Sustainable Cooling Handbook for Cities


To meet net-zero goals by 2050, cities need to rethink how to provide cooling that is sustainable and equitable.

Beating the Heat: A Sustainable Cooling Handbook for Cities says many cities could warm as much as 4 °C if greenhouse gas emissions continue at high levels. It provides 80 supporting case studies and examples demonstrating proven strategies to sustainably cool cities.

It also notes the benefits of sustainable urban cooling, including improved health and productivity, reduced power energy requirements, lower emissions, and economic benefits.


  • Introduction
  • Why a Strategic, Whole-System Approach Is Key to Sustainable Urban Cooling
  • Barriers to Sustainable Urban Cooling and Interventions to Address Them
  • Guidelines for Cities for Developing a Cooling Action Plan
  • City's Baseline Assessment as the Starting Point for Action
  • Heat-resilient Urban Design and Infrastructure
  • District Cooling
  • Energy-Efficient and Thermally Efficient Buildings
  • Cities Leading by Example
  • Community-Centric Initiatives to Advance Heat Equity and Access to Cooling
  • Awareness and Capacity-Building to Support Sustainable Urban Cooling
  • Funding and Financing Sustainable Urban Cooling Interventions

Published in November 2021.
Source: UNEP

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