Green Buildings: New Painting Project to cool down 1 million sqm of roofs

By Elias Hakizimana.

At least 15,000 sqm of cool roofs to be painted with a Solar reflective paint as pilot projects by RwGBO under its one-year project dubbed ‘Cooling Rwanda’ through a global competition ‘1Million Cool Roofs Challenge’.

The competition is called a challenge because it is a heavy task to achieve in only twelve months of the project’s pilot phase where the winner at global level will get an award of $1 Million after having painted 1 Million m² of cool roofs.

Speaking at the project launching ceremony on Thursday, Yves Sangwa, CEO of Rwanda Green Building Organization and Cooling Rwanda project coordinator said that the one-year project is a challenge to have 1Million cool roofs.

The aim is to have 1 million square meters painted roofs in one year. “It is a challenge because having all thee meter scale in one year is not easy, we will start with the pilot phase by painting the roofs of the University Teaching Hospital of Kigali (CHUK), Lycee de Kigali School and Rwanda Utility and Regulation Authority (RURA) Headquarters. We have experts who will come to test the heat of the roofs before and after being painted. Later, we will handover the achieved activities to our partners who are The Ministry of Education, Ministry of Health and Rwanda Housing Authority to see the feasibility of the project.

Yves Sangwa, CEO of Rwanda Green Building Organization and Cooling Rwanda project coordinator 

Sangwa said that MAXOLINE Made in Rwanda Color factory’s color is still in testing progress in America, Singapore and Turkey before being certified at the International level, the color will be used in Rwanda after having checked its standard measures to cool the heat down.

The next projects will involve the painting of more schools, hospitals, Rwanda Housing Authority buildings and private contractors’ who wish to support the project.

The pilot phase of the project is projected from September 2019 until December 2020. The 1 million cool roofs challenge has 10 competitors who are striving for an award after having 1-million-meter scale of cool roofs painted by December 2020.

“Before, we had had a plan to establish Green Building Academy, when we get an award as we discussed with the Ministry of Environment, Ministry of Infrastructures, Rwanda Environmental and Management Authority (REMA) and Rwanda Housing Authority, we will use the money we expect to get from award to build the green urbanization Centre of excellency which was in EDPRS II and this will be our contribution to government policies and programmes,” Sangwa said.

Kenya, south-Africa, Niger, Senegal and Cote d’Ivoire are among the 10 competitors.

RwGBO appreciates to have government support in this competition. The center of excellency has main function to train according to Sangwa.

“We had other partners who wanted to support the centre like GGGI, UNDP to build Rwanda’s capacity as a country so that the 2020-2050 National Strategy for Transformation which looks on urbanization and Green buildings can be achieved.” He noted.

1 Million $ is the award that will be given to the winner of 1Million cool roof challenge.

Four main organizations based in US have organized this competition, and these include Kigali Cooling Efficient Programme founded after the Kigali amendment of Montreal Protocol to reduce air conditioners use, Sustainable Energy for All, Global Cool Cities Alliance and Nesta Challenge that mobilizes the fund.

With the cost of 100,000$, the pilot phase of this project is projected to paint 15,000 meter scale and the next phase will double the painted space.

Eng Dr. Coletha U. Ruhamya, the Director General of REMA said that the country needs engineers who design and construct for sustainability, noting that the Cooling Rwanda project comes on time to support the country’s journey towards attending the vision of achieving the zero carbon emission.

“Within this project we are launching today, we are challenged to accelerate access to affordable and sustainable cooling through rapid development of high solar resisting cool roofs. Our goal demonstrates that it is possible to have 1 million cool roofs in the world, to achieve this we should go together though this challenge. Cooling is most important and needed by most of us, and for sure it is even more in need in the future. It has to be done in efficient way,” Ruhamya said.

Eng Dr. Coletha U. Ruhamya, the Director General of REMA officially launching the Cooling Rwanda Project on Thursday, January 30, 2020(Courtesy Photo)

“In 2017, the government of Rwanda set targets of next seven-years-government programmes that is built on three pillars: economic transformation, social transformation and transformational governance. The low carbon and resource efficiency development is a big concern.” She added.

Rwanda also ratified the Palis Agreement and joined the world to strengthen a global response to the threat of climate change by keeping global temperature to 2 degrees Celsius at industrial level and pursue to emit the temperature increase even further to 1.5 degrees Celsius. Eng. Ruhamya said that this agreement aimed to strengthen the ability of the country to deal with impacts of climate change.

Haruna, Rwanda Housing Authority in charge of building regulations and city master plan said that Rwanda Cooling Project will be a response to green building technologies. He said that RwGBO was partnered with Singaporean experts

FARIZAN D AVEZAC de MORAN, a Singaporean expert representing Green A. Consultants will partner with Rwanda to implement the project.

in construction to design a project of reducing global warming.

“Climate change issues are increasing globally, forests are burning in Australia and many changes showing global warming are increasing, Rwanda has not many industries yet but we need to feed our citizens, we need to build houses, and we expect at least 4 million citizens in Kigali city in 2050; all are contributing factors that can increase global warming, so, this programme will help Rwanda to help the world reduce this warming,” Haruna said.

Rwanda has currently among the low per capita emission countries at 0.09 CO2 while this is high in developed countries like UK (8.3 CO2 per capita), (16.6 CO2 in United States).

Experts believe that the cool roof reflects 85% of solar energy hitting and absorbs the remaining 15%. This is re-affirmed by Farsan D’Avesc, a Singaporean expert who will partner with Rwanda to implement the project.

Apart from the building roofs, RwGBO will also paint the public transport buses.


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Elias Hakizimana

Elias Hakizimana, CEO&Founder of The Inspirer Ltd,( is a professional Rwandan Journalist with Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism and Communication, received from University of Rwanda’s College of Arts and Social Sciences (CASS) in 2014. He served various media houses in Rwanda including Rwanda Broadcasting Agency (RBA) in 2013 and became passionate with English Online and Print Media Publications where he exercised his talent as a Freelance News Reporter for The New Times, The Independent, The Rwanda Focus, Panorama and more before he became a Self-Entrepreneur as the CEO and Founder of The Inspirer Limited in early 2017.

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