An estimated 1.1 billion people face significant risk from extreme temperatures every year and live without access to electricity for cooling, according to the SEforALL report, Chilling Prospects: Providing Cooling for All. Another 2.3 billion people can afford to purchase only the most inefficient air conditioning models that contain polluting F gases. These gases are 10,000 times more potent than carbon dioxide in exacerbating global warming. Left unchecked, F-gases could account for nearly 20 percent of climate pollution by 2050.
The use of reflective coating materials can decrease indoor temperatures by 2-3° C in buildings and reduce demand for air conditioning by providing passive cooling. When deployed across a whole community, these reflective surfaces can also have a net cooling effect by lowering local ambient air temperatures.
With this in mind, the Kigali Cooling Efficiency Program (K-CEP) in collaboration with the Global Cool Cities Alliance (GCCA), Sustainable Energy for All (SEforALL), and Nesta’s Challenge Prize Centre have initiated the Million Cool Roofs Challenge. It’s part of a broader effort to accelerate global action on cooling and implementation of the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol. The amendment, ratified by nearly 70 countries, seeks to curb the use of super polluting F gases in cooling devices.
The Challenge is the largest ever global effort to scale cool roofs, and will award $100,000 grants to a maximum of 10 teams in eligible countries between August 2019 and December 2020. In 2021, judges will choose the one team to receive $1 million to implement the best sustainable and transferable model for rapid widespread cool roof deployment. The judges will assess applications with criteria that covers material effectiveness, durability and sustainability, community impact and engagement, as well as operational and business model scalability.
The Million Cool Roofs Challenge recently selected a panel of 10 judges who will select the best entries designed to scale solar-reflective cool roofs in countries that are experiencing hotter temperatures and heat waves.
The distinguished global panel hail from academia, industry, civil society, government, and philanthropy. To assess Challenge applications, each will bring their own in-depth yet diverse expertise and professional experience in environmental engineering, cooling solutions/technology, green building, sustainable development, energy efficiency, climate change mitigation/resiliency, and intergovernmental policy.
The Million Cool Roofs judges are:
- Hashem Akbari, Professor, Building, Civil, and Environmental Engineering, Concordia University
- Soffia Alarcon-Díaz, Director, Carbon Trust Mexico
- Lisa Bate, Chair, World Green Building Council
- Walid Chakroun, Professor of Mechanical Engineering Department, Kuwait University and ASHRAE Fellow
- Saurabh Diddi, Head of Energy Efficiency and Cooling, Sustainable Energy for All
- Dan Hamza-Goodacre, Executive Director, Kigali Cooling Efficiency Program
- Daniella Henry, Senior Policy Advisor, Social and Economic Resiliency, New York City
- Mayor’s Office of Sustainability
- Anjali Jaiswal, Senior Director, India, International Program, Natural Resource Defense Council
- Nick Virr, Program Director, BRAC Centre
- James Wolf, Energy and Environmental Consultant
“The global south is getting hotter in more places, for longer,” said Soffia Alarcon Diaz, Carbon Trust Mexico Director. “Urgent action is required to help minimize the impact on human health and by accelerating the amount of reflective roofs relief will be provided to billions of people suffering from heat stress. I’m excited to be asked to work with K-CEP on this important initiative and alongside the eminent judging panel help to seek out the most promising innovations in this area that will catalyze this vital solution on a large scale.”
“I’m honored to have the opportunity to collaborate with these foremost experts who have the acumen to assess the varied aspects of inventive, affordable and scalable models that can help reduce health risks associated with extreme heat and improve the quality of life for people all over the world,” said Dan Hamza-Goodacre, K-CEP Executive Director.