UN Climate Change Meetings on Cool Buildings

UN Climate Change Meetings on Cool Buildings

The recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic is a major opportunity for countries to transition to low-emissions and climate-resilient societies, including accelerating the uptake of sustainable buildings with climate-smart cooling solutions.  

To help harness the potential of climate-smart cooling, a series of four regional technical expert meetings are scheduled to take place between 19 and 27 August 2020, organized by the Technology Executive Committee (TEC), Climate Technology Centre and Network (CTCN) and the Regional Collaboration Centers (RCCs), with the support of the Global Alliance for Buildings and Construction (GlobalABC). They will showcase climate-friendly technology solutions for cooling systems in buildings and demonstrate innovative and on-the-ground actions.

Join the schedule of regional technical expert meetings in August:

  • The first event, for the Africa region, will take place on Wednesday 19 August from 10:00 – 11:30 CEST. Click here to follow.
  • The second event, for Latin America & the Caribbean, will take place on Thursday 20 August 2020, from 16:30-18:00 CEST. Click here to follow.
  • The third event, for Asia & Pacific, will tke place on Tuesday 25 August, from 9:30 – 11:00 CEST. Click here  to follow.
  • The fourth event, for Eastern Europe & West Asia, will take place on Thursday, 27 August 2020, from 10:00 – 11:30 CEST. Click here to follow.

These virtual events present a valuable platform for stakeholders to discuss how sustainable buildings can lead to substantial emission reductions as well as sustainable development benefits.

The events, which are open to the general public, will focus on concrete ways to optimize the use of energy and resources, including indigenous and local knowledge and techniques, addressing building design and the use of construction material. They may also engage the private sector to invest in clean and sustainable buildings.

The world needs urgent action on climate-friendly cooling, and examples of concrete action abound.

According to the International Energy Agency, global sales of air conditioning have nearly quadrupled since 1990, while the amount of energy consumed in cooling homes and commercial buildings is expected to triple by 2050, especially in tropical countries. Needs of access to cooling vary from those of big companies to those of poor rural populations; from large buildings in cities to small huts in remote villages. Interesting projects aimed at the construction of sustainable buildings are underway across the regions. Here are some inspiring examples:

Nubian Vault Construction Technique in Africa

One such example in Africa is the Nubian Vault  construction technique, an architectural concept that is both ancestral and innovatory. This technique requires neither timber nor metal roofing sheets, using mud bricks and mortar as the raw material. Local labour is trained in the technique, providing much needed employment. The result is access by many families to affordable and comfortable homes adapted to the consequences of climate change.

Million Cool Roofs Challenge in Asia

Million Cool Roofs Challenge was launched last year – 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 awarded $100,000 grants to up to ten teams to deploy solar reflective coating and/or materials in an eligible country between August 2019 and December 2020. A further $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.

In Asia, three finalists from Bangladesh, Indonesia and the Philippines present innovative solutions ranging from the use of indigenous insulating materials for roofs to high quality roof coating, designed to be applied in low income households, residential and public buildings.

Supporting the transition to sustainable cooling technologies in the Caribbean

In the tropical climate of the Caribbean, air conditioners and refrigerators provide essential services. Growing local populations and the tourism that helps drive many economies are demanding ever more cooling products, but inefficient models are common. April 2018 saw the launch of the Caribbean Cooling Initiative, a project based on the “Coolease” financial mechanism, which aims to promote the adoption of energy-efficient and climate-friendly cooling solutions in the commercial sector. The Coolease model enables suppliers and consumers of air conditioning and refrigeration products to transition to the latest technology without an upfront investment. Find out more about the programme on the UN Environment project page, and the United for Efficiency project page.

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