Telangana’s ‘Cool Roof’ initiative comes in for praise

Pilot project Devarkonda basthi a big hit; they save energy, increase thermal comfort and reduce cooling demand in longer run

By Author  |  Published: 15th Feb 2020  12:08 amUpdated: 15th Feb 2020  12:18 am
Cool Roof
Cool roofs reflect sunlight and absorb less heat and offer cost-effective solution for urbanisation challenges and to protect environment.

Hyderabad: Summer is arriving and already many have started to feel the heat. But many residents in Devarkonda Basthi, Banjara Hills are as cool as they can be for the last two summers.

Ever since residents tried the ‘Cool Roof’ initiative, their power consumption has come down and more importantly, there is a considerable reduction in room temperature.

Thanks to the State government’s initiative, Administrative Staff College of India (ASCI) conducted a pilot project of using membrane cool roofing over 60 houses at Devarkonda Basthi, Banjara Hills since last two years.

“It is definitely yielding good results. Many of the residents in the basthi are from low income groups and cannot afford air conditioners or coolers. Living in tin or asbestos roofed structures or using tarpaulins, they had to face tough conditions. But covering the roofs of their houses with white membranes, helped in reducing the ambient temperature by two to three degrees and this makes a lot of difference,” said Professor Rajkiran from ASCI.

The project was taken up in association with Dupont, which offered Tyvek sheets for covering the roofs. Cool roofs reflect sunlight and absorb less heat and offer cost-effective solution for urbanisation challenges and to protect environment. They save energy, increase thermal comfort and reduce cooling demand in the longer run, he explained.

The good thing about cool roof membranes is that they can be useful in different climatic conditions. During summers, they reflect heat and during rainy season, they prevent seepage from the roofs. In winters, they can be rolled, stored and reused again in summers, he informed.

Depending on the budget, there are multiple cool roofing options. They can be categorised into coated cool roofs, membrane cool roofs, tiled cool roofs, special cool roof materials and green cool roofs. Considering all these factors, many organisations and establishments are working onto to use different cool roof techniques. International Institute of Information Technology-Hyderabad professor Vishal Garg said plans are being laid to take up a project covering different structures in BHEL. The idea is to try out different cool roofing options like tiles, membranes and others on 15 LIG, MIG and HIG units, besides a few commercial structures like hospitals, he said.

“We intend to launch the project in February and will be approaching BHEL management shortly,” he said. The IIIT-H has already taken up few cool roofing projects on the institute premises.

JLL lauds govt initiative

Even as many States and cities are still in planning stages in taking up cool roof programmes. Telangana is in the forefront in initiating measures for implementing the cool roofs programme.

After a few pilot projects, the Telangana government has initiated steps involving Administrative Staff College of India, Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation, Natural Resources Defense Council, International Institute for Information Technology, Hyderabad and Telangana State Renewable Energy Development Corporation for taking up cool roofing measures extensively across the State.

The same was highlighted by JLL in its City Momentum Index 2020 edition. Indian cities have increasingly suffered from extreme heat in recent years. In 2019, Delhi broke its all-time high temperature record, reaching 48 degrees Celsius. In response, cities across India have been implementing Heat Action Plans (HAP).

Meanwhile, the Central government has launched the India Cooling Action Plan (ICAP) to reduce long-term demand for air conditioning, with cool roofs identified as a major solution. Cool roofs (white-coloured roofs) reflect sunlight and absorb less heat, reducing the urban heat island effect. This has been implemented on a large scale in Hyderabad, where the State government has introduced the Telangana Cool Roof programme, the report said.

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