Policy Solution

Heat design guidelines



Summary: Design guidelines can be applied to capital projects throughout the project development process to complement existing codes and standards and incorporate future climate risk projections. Heat design guidelines will in turn support facilities to withstand projected heat conditions for the end of the facility's useful life.

Implementation: Develop heat design guidelines in close coordination with government departments or agencies to ensure the guidelines are integrated into other planning processes and support additional goals. Design guidelines should identify specific actions based on the size of the capital project and level of criticality, which can be based on services provided and importance during an emergency.

Considerations for Use: Heat risk projections may change over time. Given this uncertainty, it is recommended to create guidelines than allow for adaptation and flexibility. For greatest accuracy, update the guidelines over time.

  • Policy Levers: The mechanism municipalities can use to actualize the intervention. These policy levers will likely be used in combination with each other.

    CommitmentGovernments set ambitious goals or targets to guide prioritization and investment.
  • Trigger Points: Opportunities for municipalities to implement risk reduction and preparedness interventions based on the policy lever, building on the United Nations Environment Programme triggers used in the Beating the Heat handbook (2021).

    City planning processesIncludes city initiatives such as the development of climate action plan, pathway to zero-energy, master plan, transit plan, energy mapping etc.
    No-regrets actions (low cost/low effort but substantial benefit)Interventions that are relatively low-cost and low effort (in terms of requisite dependencies) but have substantial environmental and/or social benefits.
  • Intervention Type:
  • Sectors:
    Buildings, Economic Development, Parks, Public Works, Transportation,


  • Target Beneficiaries:
    Residents; Property owners
  • Phase of Impact:
    Risk reduction and mitigation
  • Metrics:
    Decrease in surface temperature; Change in cost over life of asset


  • Intervention Scale:
    Region; State/Province; City; District
  • Authority and Governance:
    National government; State/provincial government; City government
  • Implementation Timeline:
    Short-term (1-2 Years)
  • Implementation Stakeholders:
  • Funding Sources:
    Public investment; Private investment
  • Capacity to Act:
    Medium; High


  • Cost-Benefit:
  • Public Good:
  • GHG Reduction:
  • Co-benefits (Climate/Environmental):
    Provide flood protection; Improve stormwater management; Mitigate risk of drought; Mitigate risk of wildfire; Reduce air and water pollution; Reduce greenhouse gas emissions
  • Co-benefits (Social):
    Save on utilities; Improve human health; Increase property values; Improve the public realm