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Fund invests $580,000 in sustainable cooling

UK: A new fund is giving grants totalling $580,000 to enable sustainable cooling for those most at risk from extreme heat.

The Fair Cooling Fund seeks to help those most affected by soaring global temperatures by providing a range of solutions including solar-powered refrigeration for small-scale farmers and low-carbon cooling for slum houses. It is provided by the philanthropic collaborative K-CEP and administered by London-based climate solutions charity Ashden.

The fund is currently helping seven organisations in India, Egypt, Rwanda, Ghana and Colombia develop and scale up innovative sustainable cooling solutions. 

It’s reported that, with rising global temperatures, roughly one billion people lack access to cooling – threatening their health and their ability to earn a living. In 2017 alone, 153 billion hours of work were lost due to extreme heat as a result of climate change – since then, temperatures have continued to rise.

Harriet Lamb, CEO of Ashden, a London-based charity that works in the field of sustainable energy and development, said of the K-CEP projects: “Their ideas have huge potential to protect those at greatest risk from extreme heat, putting justice and fairness at the heart of the sustainable cooling challenge. We will support these pioneers in the months ahead, as they bring their bold plans to life.”

K-CEP executive director Jessica Brown said: “K-CEP envisions a world where efficient, climate-friendly cooling is accessible to all. To address the urgent cooling needs of the vulnerable, we need joint effort from innovators, funders, policymakers and communities to deliver out-of-the-box and innovative solutions at scale.”

This summer Ashden has worked closely with the seven organisations to develop their ideas, in a collaborative process that featured support from world-leading cooling experts. These initiatives have been backed with grants from $40,000 to $100,000. Some organisations have already used the backing of the Fair Cooling Fund to unlock additional finance from other sources.

The Fair Cooling Fund innovators are:

CBalance: a company bringing architecture students and communities together to retrofit informal housing to improve thermal comfort in India – especially at night when it is often too hot to sleep.

ECOnsult: Egypt’s leading green building and sustainability consultant is making the case for alternatives to energy-intensive air conditioning for cooling. It is demonstrating how to integrate indigenous architectural knowledge into housing design for low-income communities in Egypt to keep residents cool.

Ecozen is an Indian clean technology company enabling a climate smart farm-to-fork value chain for perishables. Their hardware (cold rooms) and market linkage platform enables farmers to grow more, reduce agri-produce loss and sell at better price. Ecozen will introduce and pilot a smaller version of their existing product, to reduce the barriers to access cooling for small holder farmers, food growers and businesses in India. 

MASS Design Group, a team of over 140+ architects, engineers, builders, furniture designers, writers, filmmakers, and researchers, is launching a research and communications initiative with Rwandan homeowners develop more thermally-efficient alternatives to metal roofs.

City of Medellin: developing an urban planning methodology to enable other cities in Colombia – and ultimately the world – to follow in the city’s pioneering footsteps, introducing biodiversity to the urban landscape to mitigate climate change impacts and tackle social inequalities.

PEG Africa: testing different loan and sustainable refrigeration models to ensure cold storage is available to fish processors and other businesses in rural Ghana. The initiative will include an investigation into the needs of, preferences of and possibilities for women entrepreneurs.

Promethean Power Systems: Pioneering a new service and service infrastructure for chilling, processing and distributing milk and dairy in rural India, in partnership with NGO Swayam Shikshan Prayog. This work will enable small-scale farmers – many of them women – to store and combine their produce in optimal conditions, accessing further away markets and commanding a more competitive price.

The fund is the latest stage in an ongoing collaboration between Ashden and K-CEP. The 2020 Ashden Award for Cool Cities, funded by K-CEP, was given to the Ahmedabad Heat Action Plan.

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