Million Cool Roofs Challenge

By Joey Mazzaferro

The Million Cool Roofs Challenge is a $2 million global competition to rapidly scale up the deployment of highly solar-reflective “cool” roofs in developing countries suffering heat stress and lacking widespread access to cooling services.

Ten teams were named as finalists and were awarded $125,000 each. One of those teams, Cool Roofs Indonesia, has a connection to our college as M.E. Rinker, Sr. School of Construction Management Associate Professor Ravi Srinivasan is the Co-PI for the project. He is also the Director of UrbSys (Urban Building Energy, Sensing, Controls, Big Data Analysis, and Visualization) Lab at the Rinker School.

Previously, Srinivasan and Bipin Shah of WinBuild Inc. performed simulation studies using cool roof systems and wrote code language for South African Energy Efficiency Standards for Buildings. It is expected that similar work will be conducted to improve energy efficiency standards for building in Indonesia in future. This team, went beyond implementation of the project to measure surface temperatures, before and after, as well as conducting survey of building occupants to gather health related and living comfort. 

“I had the opportunity to help a local university in Bandung (University of Pendidikan or UPI) in identifying and writing a project proposal in response to U.S.-based organization’s Million Cool Roofs Challenge,” Srinivasan said. “Only developing countries (more specifically, UN Group 2 countries) can apply for this award. It’s an honor to share our expertise and knowhow with developing countries.”

The Challenge awarded $125,000 grants to ten teams to deploy solar reflective coating and/or materials in an eligible country between August 2019 and May 2021. The team that has demonstrated the best sustainable and transferable model for rapid deployment of cool roofs in an eligible country and best meets the judging criteria will win $750,000. At this time, Cool Roofs Indonesia is one of the front runners to win the grand prize.

So far, the Cool Roofs Indonesia team has seen temperatures decrease by 10 degrees Celsius after applying solar reflective paint. The team used this paint on 15,000 square meters of roofing in Indonesia’s Tangerang City. The buildings’ roofs the team painted included industrial buildings, elementary schools, mosques, government offices and low-cost housing.

Since cool paints are available in colors that match architectural designs, cultural buildings such as mosques will still benefit from cool roof technologies. What a cool way of merging culture and technology!

DCP Communications had the opportunity to sit down with Cool Roofs Team Indonesia and ask them about the Million Cool Roofs Challenge.
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