A new pilot project will use cool surfaces and other energy-efficient technologies in low-income housing in Jasdan, India, to help cool the homes and lower residents' energy bills.
The Clean Energy Ministerial's Global Superior Energy Performance Partnership (GSEP) Cool Roofs and Pavements Working Group is supporting the pilot project in collaboration with the local nonprofit Sustainable Urban Climate Change & Energy Efficiency Development (SUCCEED).
Global demand for cooling is growing rapidly as incomes rise, air conditioning units become more affordable, and the global climate heats up. The growth trend in India is particularly striking. Air-conditioning sales in India are climbing by about 20 percent per year. Within the next two decades, electricity demand for cooling could increase 25-fold in India, and large increases are expected in other emerging economies as well.
To address these trends, GSEP is supporting the deployment of cool surfaces, among other energy efficiency technologies, in India. Cool surfaces applied to the exterior of buildings help reflect incoming sunlight, reducing cooling energy use and improving the thermal comfort of buildings and cities. Keeping homes and workplaces cool is more than a luxury; it is important for increasing worker productivity, lifting living standards, and reducing the number of heat-related illnesses and deaths.
The initial pilot is small in scale—just eight homes to start—but the thermal comfort benefits and energy savings demonstrated by the pilot could inform larger-scale projects and supportive policy measures. Under its Indira Awaas Yojana program, India's central government builds several million rural and low-income houses per year, which provides an opportunity to scale up cool surface deployment and sustainable construction. The homes in the pilot will incorporate various construction methods and several other efficiency and renewable technologies.
"The demonstration project in Jasdan will help the Indian government adopt these cost-effective cool surface technologies," said Bipin Shah of WinBuild Inc. USA, the project manager.
The project is also helping to train local residents in the construction of "cool" homes. "I see this cool roof pilot project as an opportunity to provide construction skill training, which will help local laborers earn higher wages," said Ms. Roshni Engineer of SUCCEED's Board of Directors and the project architect and site developer.
The pilot project in Jasdan is one example of the work conducted through initiatives under the Clean Energy Ministerial. "Cool roofs are an important piece of the broader action on energy efficiency and clean energy that is needed to address climate change and which we are supporting through the Clean Energy Ministerial," said Mr. Graham Pugh, who directs the Clean Energy Ministerial Secretariat and coordinates U.S. engagement in GSEP.