Energy & Environment Lab Mahila Housing SEWA Trust Project

In India, heat is deadly – the last several years have seen record-breaking heat waves, causing thousands of deaths across the country. Climate change is expected to further increase global temperatures and lead to even more frequent and intense heat waves. In low-income communities in Delhi, there is little relief as commonly used building materials absorb heat, and energy to run coolers and air conditioners is expensive and irregular.

To address this challenge, the Energy and Environment Lab has partnered with the Mahila Housing SEWA Trust (MHT), a winner of the Urban Labs Innovation Challenge: Delhi, a project of the Tata Center for Development, to evaluate the effectiveness of heat reflective paints on lowering indoor temperatures and improving quality of life. While these paints are widely used, there is little rigorous evidence on their effectiveness outside of small-scale pilots. MHT will paint the roofs of 250 homes with heat reflective paint in a resettlement colony in Delhi in summer 2017. University of Chicago researchers will work with MHT to evaluate the impact of the paints on indoor temperatures, energy expenditures, and overall wellbeing.