Million Cool Roofs Challenge: sustainable cooling for low-income housing

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Heat stress threatens the health and wellbeing of communities around the world and the poorest members of society are the most vulnerable. Prolonged exposure to high temperatures leads to adverse health outcomes like increased rates of heart and lung illness, as well as negative social consequences like lower productivity at work or school. Climate change will only make matters worse.

To address the effects of heat stress, Arup led a collaboration with two housing non-profits operating in Mexico: Échale and New Story. The non-profits, who between them have constructed tens of thousands of homes for low-income families, often hear from community members before each new project that the temperature inside their homes is too high. One community survey conducted by New Story found that 90% of families described their home as too hot and 93% of respondents said high temperatures caused difficulties sleeping. Our project aims to improve health outcomes for low-income communities facing heat stress by catalysing systemic change to increase access to effective, sustainable passive cooling strategies. The project team won a $125,000 grant through the Million Cool Roofs Challenge, a global competition to accelerate access to affordable and sustainable cooling for countries suffering from heat stress. This project was also awarded $330,000 in funding through the Arup Community Engagement Global Challenge.

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