The Cool Surfaces Project began as a collaboration between the South African and United States of America’s respective Departments of Energy under the Clean Energy Ministerial. The Cool Surfaces Project is the response to South Africa’s need for an energy passive, low cost, low maintenance cooling technology for buildings.
The Cool Surfaces Project roadmap is as follows:
Funding for the equipment to furnish the laboratories remains a challenge. The manufacture of further Cool Surfaces Products within South Africa remain stalled until credible, affordable testing, rating and labelling can allow Cool Surfaces products to be listed as certified on the database. Without these controls, quality and trust in the technology will be in question, damaging the industry.
Cool Surfaces refers to all materials and technologies used in the construction of the building envelope that improve thermal comfort. Our current focus is on the Cool Coatings applied to roofs and walls by painting the prepared surface. Surfaces that reflect lots of solar energy and release lots of stored heat energy (i.e., white roofs, light-colored pavements. Cool surfaces are measured by how much light they reflect (solar reflectance) and how long they hold heat (thermal emittance).
Initially the Cool Surfaces project was a cost share initiative between the USA DOE and RSA DOE that contributed to kick starting it. SANEDI is in partnership with the Department of Public Works and the National Development Agency, is funding the project. Two SANEDI programmes (Energy Efficiency Programme and Working for Energy) are collaborating to implement Cool Surfaces.
Broadly, demonstration project sites were selected from those located in extremely hot climatic zones, with no access to electricity for cooling and are Public buildings (schools, clinics etc) owned by the state.
The Focus has been on Low-Income Housing: Where applied, this technology dramatically improves the thermal comfort of low-income housing without using electricity, thus improving the quality of life and forestalling the need for air conditioning. However, it is also very valuable in buildings where HVAC systems have already been installed; Cool surfaces can cut AC energy use by up to 20% on the top floor of air conditioned buildings, avoiding cooling loads at peak times. Cooler intake air means AC works less, and EE contributes to downsizing the AC units.
Every attempt was made to include the communities in the intervention. Before the project begins, an advance team from TEPRASM, informs the community in door to door campaign conducted in the vernacular, to secure community buy-in and feedback. A percentage of the cool surfaces application work force is drawn from the local community members. They are trained in various skills related to the cool coating application and the hired for the duration. The communities are most receptive.
Benefits of Cool Surfaces: