Sustainable cooling methods to manage global warming in South Asia

Studies following the Paris Agreement of 1.5℃ limit of global warming, suggest that South Asia has the most influx of global warming. Emission levels are very high in these developing nations. The poorer nations, which are very prone to disastrous heat waves also need feasible methods to battle the issue. An award ceremony post COP26 meeting held in Ashden, recognised the necessity of sustainable cooling.


Most Urban homes in South Asia are built out of cement which is a major heat absorbent. To pose a solution to this, a non-profit organization is working extensively to adopt sustainable cooling methods in urban and semi-urban areas. Mahila Housing Trust is based in Ahmedabad and works across 10 cities in India to boost communities’ resistance to heat stress. It educates women on how to cool their homes in easily implemented and affordable ways. Till now, more than 1,600 women have gained awareness of climate change and how to deal with some of its effects.

The techniques are based on passive cooling methods i.e preventing heat from building up in homes. One of them involves painting roofs and sun-side walls with solar-reflective paint. It can reduce indoor temperatures by 4℃ - 5℃. When sunlight hits a light-coloured roof, 80% of its energy is reflected back, while for a dark-coloured roof only 5% is reflected.

The second step suggested by the Mahila Housing Trust is to grow potted plants and creepers on the roofs, which can reduce indoor temperatures by 2.5℃. Vegetation has a cooling effect through physical shading and evapotranspiration.