The cost of heat and how gardens can mitigate

Alastair Griffiths

This week’s heatwave has evidenced more than before why it is essential that everyone has close access to greenspace and gardens as their human right, keeping them cool.

As well as providing shade in exposed areas, the process of plant transpiration, where plants release water into the air from their leaves, helps to cool the surrounding environment.

Research has shown that people living in less vegetated areas had a 5% higher risk of death from heat-related causes. Meanwhile UK Natural Capital Accounts' calcluated the total annual value of cooling from green and blue space in 2017 in Great Britain as equivalent to £243.6 million in labour productivity savings and avoided air conditioning energy costs.

Alistair Griffiths is director of science and collections at the RHS 

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