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European Climate, Infrastructure and Environment Executive Agency
News article28 August 2023European Climate, Infrastructure and Environment Executive Agency2 min read

Revolutionising sustainable cooling solutions: LIFE projects lead the way

Towns and cities across Europe have once again sweltered through a summer of near-record temperatures. As the mercury rises, traditional cooling systems in buildings struggle to cope.

CoolLIFE project participating at the European Sustainable Energy Week (EUSEW).
© LIFE21-CET-COOLING-CoolLIFE/101075405. All rights reserved. Licensed to the European Union under conditions.

Faced with this challenge, a number of innovative LIFE projects are reshaping the way we cool down our built environment while embracing sustainable alternatives. 

Addressing decarbonisation and exponential demand: The COOLING DOWN project 

Leading the way is COOLING DOWN, a EUR 2.8 million initiative aimed at redefining the cooling sector by placing renewable cooling at its core. Focused on the supply side of cooling, the project aims to tackle the pressing issue of decarbonisation while also addressing the anticipated exponential growth in cooling demand.  

“COOLING DOWN seeks to propose a vision for a renewable cooling sector in Europe in the coming decades and issue policy recommendations and proposals to achieve it,” explains Philippe Dumas, coordinator for COOLING DOWN. 

By integrating renewable energy sources into cooling systems, COOLING DOWN aims to provide a sustainable and efficient solution to combat rising temperatures in urban areas. 

“As the planet heats up, sustainable solutions for cooling become essential for households, cities, businesses and industry. Geothermal and solar thermal are renewable, efficient, and cost-effective solutions,” notes Philippe. “Integrating them into our individual and common living spaces, workplaces and manufacturing processes is a critical part of climate mitigation and adaptation. They are also key to avoiding additional stress on electricity systems and resource consumption.” 

Empowering sustainable decision-making: CoolLIFE's open-source approach 

CoolLIFE also aims to respond to Europe’s surging demand for space cooling. The EUR 2.1 million project is poised to revolutionise the way we approach sustainable cooling by developing open-source tools and encouraging access to existing cooling technologies. 

‘The CoolLIFE tool will be mainly a planning tool, and the knowledge hub will be a repository for data and information,’ explains Simon Pezzutto, Coordinator for CoolLIFE. 

These tools help both public and private entities to consider and adopt green cooling solutions throughout decision-making, planning, design and implementation. By encouraging a holistic perspective, CoolLIFE hopes to encourage a widespread shift towards sustainable cooling practices. 

‘Our tools will be online for at least five years after the project’s end. So we hope to support the relevant institutions which will carry out comprehensive assessments,’ notes Simon.  

Unleashing the power of passive cooling: The LIFE SUPERHERO initiative

As urban areas struggle with overheating, the two million EUR LIFE SUPERHERO project swoops in with a unique solution that embraces the concept of "passive cooling" to reduce energy consumption and mitigate the urban heat island effect. 

Using passive cooling technologies such as ventilated and permeable roofs (VPRs), LIFE SUPERHERO aims to lower building temperatures and subsequently curb the heat impact on the surrounding environment. This approach not only contributes to sustainable cooling but also reduces the strain on energy resources. 

Responding to the urgent need for sustainable climate solutions, these and other LIFE projects are revolutionising our approach to cooling systems in urban areas. Innovations such as integrated renewable energy sources, open-source tools and passive cooling technologies are paving the way for a more sustainable and resilient future - and a cooler, greener, more sustainable Europe. 


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