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Passive Daytime Radiative Cooling for Disaster Relief

Radiative cooling materials are not just an energy and money saving technology. In some applications, they can mean the difference between life and death. One such application for passive daytime radiative cooling is disaster relief. The unique characteristics of passive daytime radiative cooling materials makes them an invaluable asset for shelter and assistance in the aftermath of natural calamities. Let’s explore six advantages that PDRC films and fabrics offer to disaster relief efforts:

1. Independence from Energy Sources

In disaster-stricken areas, power grids can be down, and generator fuel can be in short supply. In fact, in modernity, a downed power grid is a disaster in and of itself. Radiative cooling materials operate without the need for energy inputs like electricity or fuel. This self-sufficiency means that even in the most challenging circumstances, they continue to provide much-needed cooling and comfort. In extreme heat, temperatures and humidities above which the human body cannot sufficiently cool itself, energy-free cooling does more than comfort, it reduces the risk of heat injury and death.

2. Adaptability to Temporary Structures

In the chaotic aftermath of a disaster, quick and adaptable solutions are essential. Self-adhesive radiative cooling films offer respite, with easy peel-and-stick roof installation on temporary structures like containerized medical facilities or food distribution trailers. These films effectively reduce the heat inside, creating a more comfortable environment for both patients and aid workers.

3. Futuristic Tents

Radiative cooling fabric takes adaptability to the next level. PDRC fabric can be added to existing tents in the form of fabric roof panels. At Coldrays, we call these cooling panels “sun flys”. Like adding a rain fly on top of a tent reduces rain penetration, adding a sun fly reduces heat penetration. Furthermore, current tent manufacturers can substitute PDRC fabric with minimal changes to their manufacturing processes. The result is cooler, more comfortable spaces for those affected by a disaster with limited impact on existing disaster relief logistics.

4. Remarkable Weight Efficiency

One of the most important aspects of radiative cooling materials in disaster relief is their weight efficiency. A single pallet of radiative cooling films and fabrics weighs less than 950 lbs and covers over 13,000 square feet. Actively cooling the same area would require a large air conditioner (4,500 lbs), 40kW generator (3,600 lbs), and constant supply of fuel (12.4 lbs/hour). Reduced weight translates to reduced cost and complexity. This is true for both inbound disaster-relief logistics and the eventual pack-out of the site.

5. Reduced Drinking Water Demand

In heat-soaked disaster areas, the only alternative to better cooling is more drinking water. In hotter tents, we must drink significantly more water to maintain body temperatures through sweating. With clean drinking water supplies often disrupted during disasters, bottled water or tankers must be brought in as a stopgap. Reducing drinking water requirements reduces the logistical burden and financial costs associated with moving larger quantities of bottle water.

6. Space Savings on Relief Flights

In disaster relief scenarios, every pound saved on relief materials is invaluable. Initial relief supplies often arrive on cargo planes. The weight of supplies directly impacts the amount of essential items that can be transported. Lightweight and compact radiative cooling materials means more space for other life-saving resources like food, water, and medicine. 


When we consider environmental and logistical challenges, PDRC materials prove to be an ideal solution for disaster relief. They provide essential cooling without a reliance on energy sources while optimizing the use of cargo space during relief efforts. In these situations, where every resource counts, radiative cooling materials are more than a technological advancement; they are a lifeline for those in need.

Ready to Jumpstart PDRC Adoption?

Coldrays is America’s first large-scale distributor of passive daytime radiative cooling materials. We are always on the lookout for partners with a shared vision for a better planet. Check out our passive daytime radiative cooling products or get in touch to learn more about building the future.

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Chris Hiller
Chris Hiller
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