Entries are now open for “This Is Cool Challenge” to support youth-led sustainable cooling solutions.
The time to act is now: 2023 is a momentous year in sustainable cooling. A growing ecosystem of partners is rallying ambition ahead of COP 28, where sustainable cooling priorities will take centre stage. Sustainable cooling solutions already exist, including passive strategies, green and blue spaces, renewable-powered and efficient cooling technologies. However, they need to diffuse faster to reach those communities that are most exposed to heat – through affordable and sustainable cooling innovations, novel business models and new policy tools.
Young innovators are already generating sustainable cooling solutions in their communities and countries, mobilizing grassroots initiatives, creating business and entrepreneurship opportunities, and advocating for future-proof policies. However, especially in the Global South, young changemakers need to access funding, networks and resources to demonstrate their ideas, scale their businesses and influence decision-making.
The This Is Cool Challenge for youth-led sustainable cooling innovation works to:
- Identify innovative youth-led solutions with high potential for impact on sustainable cooling for all, and provide early-stage funding for implementation or scale-up.
- Showcase the work of young innovators in high-profile platforms and connect them with global and local networks of cooling partners that can empower them to grow their projects.
- Facilitate knowledge exchange among young innovators and partners, and together accelerate sustainable cooling for all.
- Ending energy poverty
- Improving access to sufficient, affordable and clean energy helps alleviate poverty.
- They support countries to not only achieve universal energy access, as called for by Sustainable Development Goal 7, but to expand access to levels that are sufficient for productive uses: powering businesses, industrial activity, educational and health facilities, and more.
- Reliable energy systems are the cornerstone of modern economies that provide widespread opportunities for people. All high-income countries today have annual electricity consumption above 3,000 kWh per capita.
- Fighting climate change
- They help countries design and execute energy transitions that deliver on energy access goals as part of a net-zero emissions pathway. This means establishing plans for clean energy development bolstered by energy efficiency solutions, then ensuring countries have the financial and technical assistance needed to realize these plans.
- Climate finance can be a catalyst for clean energy development in the Global South: contributing to overall global emissions reductions but also the creation of new social and economic opportunities.
- Creating jobs
- As a country’s energy system grows, it directly employs local people. And as energy access is expanded to provide reliable power, this allows businesses and industries to grow, creating even more jobs.
- It’s estimated that each direct energy job unlocks two more informal jobs and five productive use jobs. Meanwhile, investments in clean energy are estimated to produce 3.5 times more jobs than the same investments in fossil fuels.
- The work contributes to clean energy development that enables job-creating productive uses. For example, they direct grants to energy projects that connect businesses, markets, shopping malls, cold-storage facilities, clinics, schools, and other community infrastructure.
- Empowering women & youth
- Ensuring everyone has access to sufficient clean energy is an opportunity to reduce gender-based inequalities. Both clean cooking and electricity access are proven to benefit women by creating employment opportunities and reducing drudgery, the risk of gender-based violence and exposure to indoor air pollution.
- Meanwhile, the energy sector is behind others in terms of a gender-balanced workforce, with only 32 percent of employees being women. Promoting women’s full participation in the energy transition allows them to benefit equally from economic opportunities, and drives more inclusive decision-making.
- Women and Youth at the Forefront
- The Women and Youth at the Forefront programme provides women and youth with internship, mentorship and technical training opportunities to advance their careers and skills in the energy sector and prepare them for leadership roles.
- Improving health
- Despite energy being a key input for positive health outcomes, many health facilities in the Global South are completely without or have irregular power supply. This became even more apparent during the recent COVID-19 pandemic.
- The Powering Healthcare programme equips governments and their development partners with the evidence and solutions needed to achieve universal electrification of health facilities by 2030.
- Meanwhile, 2 billion people around the world don’t have access to clean cooking, which has severe consequences for public health. Improving clean cooking access can help reduce the 4 million people who die prematurely every year from illnesses associated with smoke from polluting, open fires or inefficient stoves.
- The Clean Cooking programme enables commitments from governments and their development partners to close clean cooking access gaps for the benefit of people’s health.
- Win up to USD 10,000
- Cash prizes for one winner in each track
- One additional grand-winner cash prize
- One Cool Up Special Prize for natural refrigerants
- Spotlight features, networking and exhibition opportunities from SEforALL and partners for top 3 finalists in each track
What are they looking for?
- Cooling for Thermal Comfort – Passive or active solutions for personal cooling, buildings, cities
- Cooling for Food, Nutrition and Agriculture – Sustainable agricultural cold chain solutions
- Cooling for Healthcare – Sustainable vaccine and medical cold chain solutions
- Cooling and AI – AI-powered solutions to revolutionize sustainable cooling
- Entries may be submitted by individuals or groups of up to 5 individuals, all under 35 years of age.
- This Is Cool challenge is a global competition for youth-led sustainable cooling solutions that can help deliver sustainable cooling solutions for human comfort & safety, food, nutrition & agriculture and health services.
For more information, visit Sustainable Energy for All.