Million Cool Roofs Challenge​ Finalists Named

Each of the 10 projects has received $100,000 to help them deploy their solutions; In 2021 $1 million will be awarded to the winning team.

The 10 finalists for the ​Million Cool Roofs Challenge​—a global competition to accelerate access to affordable, sustainable cooling through rapid deployment of cool roof materials—have been named. The award-winning projects have each received $100,000 to deploy their solutions between September 2019 and December 2020, and include a range of innovative technologies and approaches for deployment in residential, municipal, and commercial buildings.

cool roofsIn 2021, $1 million will be awarded to the team that has demonstrated the best sustainable and transferable model for rapid deployment of cool roofs, with the aim of deploying 1 million square meters of cool roofs. Final projects will also be judged on the effectiveness, viability, scalability, and sustainability of their approaches.

To advance cool roof solutions, finalists were selected by a ​global panel of expert judges​ from academia, industry, civil society, government, and philanthropy.

“The Challenge received interest and engagement from applicants around the world. We look forward to seeing how the 10 winners use their boost funding to accelerate the scaling of their cool roof innovations. These 10 deployments are the kind of solutions the world needs to adapt to the warming world while minimizing carbon pollution,” said ​Dan Hamza-Goodacre, Executive Director of the Kigali Cooling Efficiency Program​.

As the world warms, rapidly scaling up cooling solutions like solar-reflective cool roofs in countries exposed to heat stress and lacking widespread access to cooling services is essential. Studies show that in buildings without air conditioning, replacing a dark roof with a white “cool” roof can reduce interior temperatures by 2 to 3 degrees Celsius and net annual energy use by up to 20 percent.

The winning projects focus on geographies across the developing world and on a range of innovative solutions, including high performance solar reflective products, indigenous insulating materials, light-colored paint, and a reflective coating financed by revenue from a community plastic waste recycling program.

Nick Virr, Programme Director BRAC UK​ commented: “I am impressed with the range and quality of the proposed solutions to this important challenge. I am confident that as the finalists roll out their innovations and business plans that we will all learn a great deal about how to improve the living conditions of millions in new ways—I will watch and listen carefully.”

Estimates show that over one billion people face significant risks from extreme heat every year and live without access to electricity for cooling. Another 2.3 billion can afford to purchase air conditioning but only the most inefficient models, which use super polluting F-gases that are thousands of times more damaging to the climate CO​2.​

Lisa Bate, Chair of the World Green Building Council​ said: “Our finalists represent three of our most vulnerable warming regions where reducing heat loads is critical to support life on Earth. We look forward to the implementation phase of all of their award-winning, scalable solutions to maximize results.”

The Million Cool Roofs Challenge is an initiative of the ​Kigali Cooling Efficiency Program​, the Global Cool Cities Alliance​, ​Sustainable Energy for All​, and ​Nesta Challenges​.

Million Cool Roofs Challenge Finalists

Finalist: ARUP
Project: Cool MEANS
Location: Mexico

Finalist: BRAC University
Project: Use of Innovative Indigenous Materials for Thermal Comfort
Location: Bangladesh

Finalist: Cool Roof France
Project: Cool Roofers Senegal
Location: Senegal

Finalist: Cornland International AB
Project: Sumasalamin Sa Sun (Tagalog, meaning “Reflect the sun”)
Location: Philippines

Finalist: Mercy Corps
Project: Cool Roofs Piloting Initiative
Location: Niger

Finalist: Rwanda Green Building Organization
Project: Cooling Rwanda 2020
Location: Rwanda

Finalist: Social Tech
Project: Cool Roof Transform Project Cote d’Ivoire
Location: Ivory Coast

Finalist: South African National Energy Development Institute
Project: Cool Roofs
Location: South Africa

Finalist: Steam Plant Ltd
Project: Topps Seal Coating to Create Reflective Roof Surfaces
Location: Kenya

Finalist: Universitas Pendidikan Indonesia (UPI)
Project: Driving Climate Action to Combat UHI with @CoolRoofs Tangerang
Location: Indonesia

Read detailed descriptions of each finalist’s winning project here.