Hyderabad Promotes Cool Roofs to Protect Citizens from Extreme Heat

HYDERABAD, INDIA (Mar. 22, 2017) –Faced with increasingly high summer temperatures, the city of Hyderabad is promoting a common sense strategy known as “cool roofs” to better shield its residents from the dangers of severe heat, and also save energy, a local partnership announced today.

Cool roofs usually employ white-colored paint or roofing materials that reflect sunlight and reject heat rather than absorbing it. Cool roofs can keep a building cooler by 3 to 5 C on extremely hot days, which can significantly improve perceived human comfort. Several cities across the world have adopted cool roof strategies as a way to keep the city cool during summers.

The Hyderabad Cool Roofs initiative, led by the Municipal Administration & Urban Development Department and the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation of the Government of Telangana, with technical support from the Administrative Staff College of India and the Natural Resources Defense Council, will develop a cool roof policy program.

The city will work with experts from ASCI and NRDC and partners to develop ways to incentivize adoption of cool roofs in low-income housing, educate the media and public about the benefits of cool roofs, and provide resources on practical low-cost cool roof solutions.

“Tackling heat waves is a top priority issue for Hyderabad,” said Shri Navin Mittal, Principal Secretary, Municipal Administration & Urban Development in Telangana. “We are proud to be the first leading city in the country to adopt cool roofs policy program. These cost-effective and concrete steps will help protect our residents from harmful heat and help them save energy.”

Cool roofs can make a big difference in protecting the health of children, elderly and women who are often inside the house without access to air conditioning on hot summer afternoons. Roofs with dark colors absorb sunlight and can make the inside of the house much hotter than the surroundings. The least cost solution is to apply a coating of lime commonly used for whitewashing the walls. There are special coatings that are more durable but can cost more. White-colored mosaic tiles are another way to keep the roofs cool.

While cool roofs offer benefits for any individual building, collectively they can lower the cooling bill for all buildings in the city by reducing the urban heat island effect, a term used to signify the higher temperatures caused by buildings and streets in dense urban areas such as Hyderabad.

“With climate change, cities across the world are gearing up for the threat of increasingly high temperatures, and Hyderabad is showing a key way to protect its citizens. Low cost solutions such as cool roofs are proven to be effective and offer multiple benefits such as health, energy and cost savings and reduced air pollution,” said David Goldstein, co-director of NRDC’s Energy Program. He explained the technical aspects of cool roofs and gave examples of best practices from across the world in a seminar hosted by ASCI and NRDC, which works with local partners in India on energy and climate issues.

Mr.R H Khwaja, Director General of the ASCI, said: “Hyderabad is taking a big step to safeguard its residents from dangerous heat waves, especially its most vulnerable – children and the elderly. It could serve as a model for other heat-impacted cities across India.”

With 2016 marking another record-breaking year for global temperatures, communities across India are grappling with rising temperatures and the deadly threats from extreme temperatures. Every year across India, heat waves threaten the health of tens of millions of people, and a high number of them lose their lives. People living in slums and low-income housing in metropolitan areas are particularly vulnerable to harm. Successfully implemented, the Hyderabad cool roofs initiative can become a model for other cities across the nation to follow and adopt.

For a blog on Cool Roofs by NRDC Energy Program Director David Goldstein, click here: https://www.nrdc.org/experts/david-goldstein

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The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) is an international nonprofit environmental organization with more than 2 million members and online activists. Since 1970, our lawyers, scientists, and other environmental specialists have worked to protect the world's natural resources, public health, and the environment. NRDC has offices in New York City, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Bozeman, Montana, and Beijing. Visit us at www.nrdc.org and follow us on Twitter @NRDC.


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