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About the Challenge

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.

The Challenge will award $100,000 grants to up to ten teams this year to deploy solar reflective coating and/or materials in an eligible country between August 2019 and December 2020. From there, $1 million will be awarded in 2021 to 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. Materials should also meet minimum performance standards and be applied to roofs of buildings regularly occupied by people.

The application window for $100,000 grants is now open. Applicants must submit their completed entry forms by 20 May 2019. Before applying to the Challenge, applicants must carefully review all of the information on the Apply page.

The Million Cool Roofs Challenge is a project of the Kigali Cooling Efficiency Program (K-CEP) in collaboration with the Global Cool Cities Alliance, Sustainable Energy for All and Nesta’s Challenge Prize Centre.

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Why we are running this Challenge

The recent paper by SEforAll and K-CEP, Chilling Prospects: Providing Sustainable Cooling For All, directly linked strategies to deploy more highly reflective “cool” roofs and walls with achieving the goals of the Paris climate agreement, the Sustainable Development Goals, and the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol.

By minimizing the amount of heat generated by solar energy absorbed by buildings, reflective building surfaces reduce the demand for cooling energy for those that can afford it while also providing a sustainable passive cooling solution for the billions of people who do not have the economic means to access mechanical cooling options, in poor rural areas, urban slums and homeless shelters.

Reflective roof surfaces not only have an impact on individual buildings, but deploying them across a whole community can have a net effect on reducing local ambient temperatures. Further, the deployment of reflective materials creates sustainable job and skills opportunities for low skilled workers in both rural and urban contexts.

You can read more background to the Challenge on this page.