Sh10m prize for ‘the million cool roofs challenge’

Row of blue solar panels on orange roof.
Sustainable innovations foundation Nesta and partners have invited applications for a challenge to come up with innovations that contribute to cool roofs. The challenge has a prize of Sh10 million.

This comes after a stakeholder meeting in Rwanda organised by the Kigali Cooling Efficiency Program, a $52 million (Sh5.2 billion) philanthropic organisation. It seeks to support the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol, which seeks to tackle damage to the Ozone layer through the impact of greenhouse gases.

As a follow-up to that, Nesta’s Challenge Prize Centre in partnership with the Kigali Cooling Efficiency Program, the Global Cool Cities Alliance and Sustainable Energy for All launched the Million Cool Roofs challenge last week to support the rapid scaling of high solar reflective ‘cool’ roofs in developing countries suffering heat stress.

“Cooling is an essential component of modern life that is often taken for granted, yet being able to access cooling is fundamental for supply chains of food, medicines and vaccines, as well as general health and productivity of individuals and whole communities,” said Richard Duffy, researcher at Nesta’s Challenge Prize Centre.

He said it was necessary to do this sustainably to avoid greater environmental and human damage through the installation of coatings and materials on rooftops that reflect the sun’s rays and emit absorbed heat back into the atmosphere.

Duffy said applicants have until May 20 to submit proposals. Ideas could include feature demonstrators, training programmes, awareness raising campaigns and volunteer programmes among others.

Up to ten finalist projects will be awarded $100,000 (Sh10 million) in grants before they compete for a $1 million (Sh100 million) final prize to be awarded at the start of 2021 to a project that will have created a sustainable cool roof ecosystem.

“It is expected that the projects should have demonstrated their effectiveness by leading to a significant quantity of cool roof deployment, with a target of 1 million square meters of cool roofing,” he said.   

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