SANEDI underway with large-scale home cooling initiative

13 February 2020

Press Release
Date: 12 February 2020

Having been awarded a $100 000 grant by the international
Million Cool Roofs Challenge last year to deploy solar-reflective roof coatings,
the South African National Energy Development Institute (SANEDI) is now
underway rolling out this low-tech cooling solution to communities across the
country. This initiative is driven by the Kigali Cooling Efficiency Program
(K-CEP) with the aim of rapidly scaling up the deployment of highly
solar-reflective ‘cool’ roofs in developing countries, suffering heat stress
and lacking widespread access to cooling services.

“We were thrilled when we received the grant
last year and couldn’t wait to get underway with rolling out this initiative.
Starting in August, the grant came just in time for the scorching South African
summer, which is felt most in the Limpopo province reaching an average of 35°C,” said Denise Lundall, Project Officer,
Energy Efficiency Cool Surfaces at SANEDI. “We have found that we can reduce
indoor daytime temperatures in low-cost housing by almost 10°C by applying the reflective coating.” This can
make a substantial difference to the daily lives of many South Africans.

Strong competition

Deployment has been smooth thus far, with
sights set on the next large Million Cool Roofs Challenge grant to be awarded
in 2021. The next grant, a brilliant sum of $1 million, will be awarded to the country-team
that has demonstrated the best sustainable and transferable model for rapid
deployment of cool roofs and best meets the judging criteria.

“With nine others competing for this grant, we
have our challenge set out for us,” says Lundall. Teams from Bangladesh,
Senegal, Philippines, Niger, Rwanda, Côte d’Ivoire, Kenya, Indonesia and Mexico
are hard at work rolling out thousands of square meters of cool roofing, while
meeting certain standards and criteria. “Developing countries are a clear
target for the Cool Roofs initiative, as it is not just about lowering ambient
air temperatures but also supporting socio-economic development in those
affected communities.”

For South Africa, the project has been undertaken with
local municipal authorities, to coat no less than 25 000 m2 of roof
area. SANEDI provides energy efficiency awareness training to the communities
for their buy-in. In each community, a group of unemployed local residents is
selected, professionally trained and certified, and then employed by the
project to apply the specialised coating. “Through awarding these grants, part
of K-CEP’s aim is to demonstrate the benefits of cool roofs and stimulate
demand so that a market can be developed and eventually self-sustained in these
developing countries,” notes Lundall. This makes South Africa an ideal
candidate, as the country faces the highest unemployment rate out of the ten
countries aiming for the larger 2021 grant.

Benefits abound

“While the reflective coatings can make life more
comfortable for people living in rural areas where there is no access to
cooling technology, cool roofing also brings benefits to urban areas.
Substantial energy savings can be achieved in buildings which make use of
mechanical cooling technology (air conditioners), as the intervention reduces
base and peak demand for cooling energy.”

Added to that, the environmental benefits are clear.
“The whitening of 100 m2 of grey roofing cancels the warming effect
of 10 tons of CO2 emissions. Globally, this cancels 500 medium sized
coal power stations’ worth of greenhouse gas emissions,” concludes Lundall.


The South African National Energy Development
Institute (SANEDI), established by the Government, directs, monitors and
conducts applied energy research to develop innovative, integrated solutions to
catalyse growth and prosperity in the green economy. It drives scientific
evidence-driven ventures that contribute to youth empowerment, gender equity,
environmental sustainability and the 4th Industrial Revolution,
within the National Development Plan (NDP), through consultative, sustainable
energy projects. For more information, go to

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