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Climate hazards: Extreme heat

Extreme heat

Climate-proof your home

Climate Ready Home Guide

Calgary’s temperatures are increasing and will continue to get hotter due to climate change. Projections show that by the 2050s we may see up to four times the amount of days that reach or exceed 29°C then our historical average. Our hottest days will become much hotter than what Calgarians have experienced in the past.

Extreme heat can make your indoor living environment uncomfortable and can have serious impacts on our health.

For more information about staying safe before, during, and after an extreme heat event, visit What to do during extreme heat.

High temperatures, and large variations in temperature, can damage building materials (e.g., roofing and siding) over time, causing buckling, bowing, cracking, and sometimes breakage. Some chemical processes are accelerated by an increase in temperature, which can degrade and damage concrete, asphalt and steel structures over time.

Extreme heat vulnerability

Consider the following questions. The more questions you answer as YES, the more vulnerable you and your home may be to extreme heat:

Question Yes/No
Do you live close to the downtown core, or in a more densely populated area with minimal vegetation?


Does the interior of your home get uncomfortably hot in the summertime?


Do you have older, single-pane or low-quality windows?


Are most of your windows fixed and non-opening?


Do you have air leaks in your windows and doors?


Do you have walls or an attic that is poorly insulated?


Does your property lack trees or other forms of shading (awning, covered porch, etc.) to direct sunlight?


Do you have dark coloured materials on your roof, exterior walls, deck and landscaping that absorb heat?


How to reduce extreme heat impacts

Below are some of the most impactful measure to protect youself and your home during heat waves. Improving the energy efficiency of your building envelope will help keep your home cooler during heat waves.

Roof and Attic

  • Consider using lighter colours for your roof  that absorb less heat.
  • If you have a flat or moderately-sloped roof (1:12 to 3:12 rise over run slope), consider a vegetated (living) roof
  • Consider adding insulation to your attic space. This will help stabilize the temperature of your home in hot and cold conditions.

Exterior walls and siding

  • Ensure your walls are well-insulated. If replacing your siding, consider installing exterior insulation and siding with a higher R-value. The higher the R-value, the better the material is at preventing heat from entering or leaving your home.

Windows and doors

  • If replacing your windows , go with triple pane windows, and windows with a low solar heat gain coefficient. 
  • Ensure you have at least some windows that can open. It is best for their location to be south-west (the prevailing wind direction) to provide ventilation.
  • Install shading devices, such as roller shades or awnings.

Landscaping and yard

  • If possible, plant deciduous trees on the south, east and west exposures of your home. They provide shade in the summer and shed leaves in the winter to let sunlight in. 
  • Planting trees and other plants in place of hard surfaces will lower surface and air temperatures around your home. Avoid using artificial turf, which tends to get hot.

Ventilation and cooling

  • Most homes in Calgary do not have air conditioning (A/C) installed. A/C is becoming more common as summers have become hotter. The energy cost of running an A/C unit can be significant. Remember that running an A/C unit contributes to climate change. Ideally we should choose an energy efficient A/C system. We should only use it in combination with (or after applying) passive cooling measures that don’t use energy.
  • Consider installing a heat pump. Heat pumps provide heating in the winter and are a relatively energy-efficient way to cool your home in the hotter summer months.
  • You can install a window air conditioner unit or a fan in rooms that cannot be cross-ventilated. 
  • For new homes, installing central air conditioning can filter outside air that may be contaminated with pollen, dust or wildfire smoke. 
  • Learn more about air conditioning options.

For more information about protecting your home and property from extreme heat, refer to the Institute for Catastrophic Loss Reduction’s Homeowner Guide: Protect Your Home From Extreme Heat.

Financial support programs

  • Home Upgrades Program: free energy efficiency upgrades for income-qualified homeowners based. The program is funded by the City of Calgary and implemented by Alberta Ecotrust and EmpowerMe.
  • Clean Energy Improvement Program (CEIP) from the City of Calgary offers financing for home energy improvement. The next program intake will be in Summer/Fall 2024. Sign up for email updates.
  • Branching Out Tree Program provides trees at no cost from the City of Calgary. New updates are released each Spring.
  • Green Calgary Rain Barrel program offers rain barrels at a lower cost than retail stores ($82) that go on sale April 1.
Image of the sun over a golf course

Disclaimer:  The content of the Climate Ready Home Guide is for informational purposes only and cannot be construed as technical advice with respect to any particular building(s) or construction project(s). The Climate Ready Home Guide does not recommend or endorse specific products or companies. All products and measures should be installed by a professional contractor, according to manufacturer specifications and following all City Bylaws and codes.