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.
In 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 CO2.
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
Project: Cool MEANS
￼Finalist: BRAC University
Project: Use of Innovative Indigenous Materials for Thermal Comfort
Finalist: Cool Roof France
Project: Cool Roofers Senegal
Finalist: Cornland International AB
Project: Sumasalamin Sa Sun (Tagalog, meaning “Reflect the sun”)
Finalist: Mercy Corps
Project: Cool Roofs Piloting Initiative
￼Finalist: Rwanda Green Building Organization
Project: Cooling Rwanda 2020
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
Finalist: Universitas Pendidikan Indonesia (UPI)
Project: Driving Climate Action to Combat UHI with @CoolRoofs Tangerang
Read detailed descriptions of each finalist’s winning project here.