Innovation Challenges

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Million Cool Roofs Challenge (closed)

Kigali Cooling Efficiency Programme
This challenge has closed.
Partners: Global Cool Cities Alliance
Fields of Research: Environmental Engineering, Building, Geomatic Engineering, Cultural Studies
Tags: Environment, Sustainability, Climate change, Greenhouse gases, Cool roofs, Paris agreement, Coolent gases, Solar reflectance, Thermal emittance
Audience: Students, Researchers, Start-Ups, Businesses, Subject Matter Experts, Other
Anticipated Funding: US$1,000,000
Applications close: May 20, 2019
Last Updated: May 21, 2019 6:02 AM
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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.

The Partners

Global Cool Cities Alliance

Eligibility Criteria

The eligibility criteria set out who can enter a challenge prize and what will be required of them. It helps sort through applications and zero-in on those best placed to deliver against the challenge prize’s aims. The eligibility criteria allows entrants at the initial entry stage to be filtered based on attributes identified as necessary for successful participation as well as ensuring that entrants are aware of what will be expected of them. The eligibility criteria also sets out any restrictions regarding participation in the challenge prize that results from relevant legal codes of the funder. The eligibility criteria is supported by legal terms and conditions, and clarified with guidance documents such as FAQs

The eligibility criteria for the Million Cool Roofs Challenge are as follows: 


The Challenge is open to entrants globally, but entrants must deploy cool roof materials in an Article 5 Group 1 (A5 Group 1) country as defined in the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer. Funding from the Challenge can only be allocated for, or in recognition of, cool roof deployment in an A5 Group 1 country. However, applications cannot be accepted teams that contain an organisation that is incorporated in a country on the UK or EU sanctions lists for countries for which financial sanctions apply, whether they are applying as a single organisation or as part of a group.  


Entries must be focused on cool roof deployment in a single country and deployments clustered within a single city or region are encouraged. However, special dispensation may be granted via prior agreement for applications comprising partnerships of several small countries that would not be able to reach the required scale individually. 


Applications may be from single organisations or consortia of multiple organisations, but if applying in a consortia there must be a single lead applicant. This lead applicant must be a registered legal entity and will be the entity that receives the funds and is responsible for any division of the funds or sub-contracting to partners. They are also responsible for ensuring all members of the team act in accordance with the terms and conditions of the Challenge. Lead applicants may be any type of organisation. Example lead applicants include local or national government organisation, university or research institution, international or local non-profit organisation, for-profit company and international organisation.  


If the lead applicant is not based in the country of deployment (which must be an eligible A5 Group 1 country as outlined in Point 1: Global entries),  then they must have a named local partner, which is a constituted organisation,  involved in the application that has committed to participate in the programme. Entrants must have an understanding of their intended market and be able to demonstrate how their solution and approach is suitable for that market. Entrants must also be able to demonstrate how their solution will be developed and implemented in collaboration with the local community, and clearly show how the community will benefit from the solution.  


Entrants must have the capacity and skills to develop their entry with the aim of scaling their solution achieving 1 million square meters of Cool Roofs by the final judging stage, currently scheduled for December 2020.  


Entrants must use cool roofing materials that meet the minimum standards certified according to testing procedures approved by the Global Cool Cities Alliance (GCCA).  


Entrants must own, or have written permission to use, the intellectual property relevant to their entry. All entrants need to demonstrate a willingness to share information about their solutions for the purposes of the Challenge. 

Terms and Conditions

For complete details on the terms and conditions that govern the Million Cool Roofs Challenge please refer to the website.

How to Apply

To submit an application for the Million Cool Roofs Challenge please refer to the website.

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