The South African National Defence Force (SANDF) in partnership with SANEDI (South African National Energy Development Institute) has successfully completed the installation of a cool roofs project at the Sekutupu Old Age Home, situated in the Lepelle Nkumpi Municipality in Limpopo.

Cool roofing at Sekutupu Old Age Home. Image credit: SANDF

Cool roofing at Sekutupu Old Age Home. Image credit: SANDF

The residents of Sekutupu Old Age Home now benefit from significantly cooler facilities which is particularly beneficial during the province’s scorching summer months. Cool roofs is a cool surface coating technology that can lower temperature by as much as five degrees, significantly improving living conditions.

The technology involves the coating of roofs with a durable membrane, which reflects the heat of the sun. It is an inexpensive and highly effective passive-energy, low-tech cooling intervention. It allows less heat into the building, making non-airconditioned homes, warehouses and other buildings much cooler.

The Sekutupu Old Age Home is a recipient of the SANDF Legacy Project which aims to give back to worthy causes. The cool roofs installation formed part of a Department of Defence driven community project at the old age home which was completed earlier this year. Approximately 2 700m² of roofing was coated with the technology.

Explains Lieutenant Colonel David Baloyi, who served as the on-site labour manager during the project, “I lived in one of Sekutupu Old Age Home’s blocks during our restoration process. It was extremely hot, however, after they completed the painting the roofs it was significantly cooler; I could immediately feel the difference.”

In order to successfully coat the Sekutupu Old Age Home’s roofs, the SANDF team and members of the local community underwent comprehensive cool roofs training. “SANEDI taught our teams how important it is to correctly prepare the roofs, apply the paint, how to use colour coding and to be mindful of weather conditions,” says Lieutenant Colonel Baloyi.

“The SANDF Sekutupu Old Age Home cool roof project is a wonderful example of how cool surfaces technology can make a considerable difference to living conditions. We feel fortunate to form part of such a wonderful project that is contributing towards creating cooler and more comfortable homes for the elderly,” says Denise Lundall, Project Officer for Energy Efficiency Cool Surfaces at SANEDI.

Concludes Baloyi: “The cool roofs have made such a difference to the daily lives of the residents of Sekutupu Old Age Home.  We would like to encourage communities across the country to use cool roofs paint – it’s inexpensive and offers many benefits such as saving electricity.”

SANEDI is currently one of ten global teams awarded a USD100 000 grant by the Million Cool Roofs Challenge to deploy solar reflective coatings between August 2019 and August 2021. The Million Cool Roofs Challenge is a USD2-million global competition to rapidly scale up the deployment of cool roofs in developing countries suffering heat stress and lacking widespread access to cooling services.