Fight Against Heat
The summer of 2021 has followed recent trends for heat and has topped the chart as the hottest summer on record, leading to the question of how to fight heat in a cheap, environmentally friendly way. Companies have discussed how to encourage innovation in the fight against heat, one such event being the Cooling Prize.

The Issue

Recently, hot weather across the globe became a hot issue as it impacts many areas. It can cause health issues, decrease food production, cause more extreme weather patterns, spoil food, reduce production and even exacerbate violent crime. Air conditioning can provide life-saving relief for homes and companies. However, fighting against heat with air conditioners can be environmentally harmful as well as expensive.

There are 1.6 billion units of air conditioning as of now, which expectations have determined could grow to 5.6 billion over the next 10 years. These units are as harmful as fuel-powered machines such as cars. They also take energy to run — roughly 4,000 watts for every hour people use them. Since air conditioning uses power, it frequently costs too much for many people to fight against heat. The air conditioning unit cost of $500-$2,000 makes it inaccessible to many living worldwide. The Cooling Prize is focussing on lowering the price across the board.

The Cooling Prize

The Cooling Prize dedicates itself to reducing the global impact of heat and ensuring people’s safety from the heat. In the fight against heat, the use of innovation reduces emissions and makes the world a safer place. The winner receives money to improve their products. The goal is to offer affordable access to cooling technology worldwide, mitigate global warming, avoid extreme electricity demand and have five times less impact overall.

What the Winning Team Receives

The winning team divides the $1 million prize for fighting heat equally. The Cooling Prize distributes its winners and finalists, providing them with a platform to demonstrate their innovations and ideas. The criteria for winners and finalists is that their products produce five times fewer emissions than a standard unit, less than two times the installation cost of a standard unit, no more than 700 watts, zero carbon emissions and no ozone-depleting agents. Disqualification occurs if a team fails to follow these rules. Donors such as the Lemelson Foundation sponsor the event to increase outreach.

How to Help

The Cooling Prize and educating others about the issue help raise awareness. It is essential for one to consider the consequences of their air conditioner. Measures that one can take are to try opening windows or fans before turning on the air conditioner or closing windows while using an air conditioner to save energy and money. However, hopefully, the winners of the Cooling Prize will result in air condition units that are safer for the environment and more affordable for people to install across the globe.

– Audrey Burran
Photo: Flickr