The Project In India

The MEER team in India is currently working on a passive cooling project in underdeveloped areas of Pune, where people face difficulties due to thermal intolerance. Our experiments aim to address the issue of high internal temperature and provide relief from the health conditions associated with such environments. We are hopeful that the project will be successful and make a positive impact on the lives of those affected by the heat in an area where people lack access to any other cooling methods.
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MEER in Pune

India, known for its diverse climate and natural beauty, is increasingly facing intense heatwaves. These heat events are not only causing discomfort but also posing a significant threat to the livelihoods, health, and the environment. The combination of global warming, deforestation, urbanisation, and pollution contributes to India's increasing intensity and frequency of heat waves. Over the past five decades, the country has experienced more than 700 heat wave events, resulting in more than 17,000 deaths, according to a 2021 study.


To address this issue, the MEER India project, initiated by Dr. Ye Tao in 2023, aims to help people overcome problems related to extreme heat by applying surface reflectors to their rooftops. These reflectors aim to cool the surface of roofs, providing a comparatively cooler environment and protecting people from deadly heat waves. The project is focused on reaching out to communities, addressing their concerns, and installing surface reflectors on their rooftops to increase heat adaptation andprotect against the harsh realities of climate change.

Indian use cloth to hide from sun
Indians hide under bridge to avoid heat

Hanuman Nagar

Hanuman Nagar is known for its unique housing structures, which have been the subject of much research. The structures' positioning, height, overlapping, spaces, and gaps make it difficult to understand how anyone could live in them. The area consists of different types of structures, some of which are very tall and others that are very short. The housing orientation changes frequently, and the houses' lanes are pretty narrow, with natural elevation, making the area's housing structures quite complex. Each lane has around 20 houses with varying heights, orientations, and positions. The lanes' narrowness is the primary reason for the trapped heat in the locality, as there is not enough space for air to enter. The MEER India team discovered that the narrow lanes are due to the compact arrangement of the houses in this area.

Indians hide under bridge to avoid heat

Structure of houses

The houses in all the lanes share at least one common wall with the adjacent house, and the basic structure of all houses is the same, with a single door for entry/exit and one window for ventilation purposes. The houses are constructed of bricks and steel roofs.Although the houses have windows for ventilation, there is not enough space between the houses or lanes for ventilation to exist. The houses' orientation also contributes to the ventilation problem.

Single-storey houses have only two rooms divided into a kitchen and living room, while two-storey houses are sectioned differently. Some have a living room on the lower floor, and the top floor is sectioned into a kitchen and washroom, while others have the top floor used as it is. Few of these two-storey houses have access to the top floor from inside the house, while others have an external staircase to access the top floor, which is mostly rented. Some two-storey houses have roofs at the perfect height, while others have roofs so low that team members had to bend. The roofing orientation also varies, with some houses having a single long roof while others have 2 to 3 roofs combined.

The primary reason for the observed rise in temperature in the locality is the poorly constructed housing structures. These structures were not built using high-end construction technology, nor were they adequately planned. The uneven platforms, elevation changes, lack of proper ventilation space, narrow lanes, and overlapping due to varying heights are all significant contributors to the complexity of housing structures in this area.

Scientific Planning

Firstly, the MEER team in India and various volunteers analyzed the Hanuman Nagar map and divided it into four groups. The objective was to measure the dimensions of each alleyway and discover sites for sensor deployment. After analyzing the entire site, the team decided to map it for an overall assessment. The mapping team mapped the entire site as a quadrilateral. They chose the site's center to map the testing phases(three phases).

The yellow circles represent the area where MEER sheets will be applied for roofing, whereas the red circles represent the sensor placements. The sensors will check and analyze the effect of MEER sheets in the surrounding area. The total area of the shaded region is 700 m².

The red region represents the areas most affected by intense heat due to these houses' elevation, structure, and positioning, whereas the green regions are also heat-prone areas. In the upcoming months, the team will test this Hanuman Nagar site in different phases to study the before-vs.-after effects of heat mitigation using MEER sheets.

narrow street in india
Indian family sleep on roof to stay cool

Community engagement

Hanuman Nagar is a community in Pune that has been home to around a thousand people for over thirty years. During our three-day visit to the community, we realized the severe heat problems the residents are facing. The heat affects everyone in the community, from small children to older people. We met several residents who could not enter their homes during the day because of the heat. Families with two-story homes were unable to use the top floor during the day, and family members who could not leave the house due to their medical condition were the ones most affected by the heat. Many residents have developed medical conditions due to the heat and will have to live with them for the rest of their lives.

Families in the area have developed coping mechanisms to deal with extreme heat, such as covering their rooftops with plastic sheets or hanging wet cloths. While these solutions are temporary, a permanent solution is needed to alleviate the ongoing issue. The residents have expressed frustration with the government's efforts to combat the problem, as they have yielded insignificant results. However, MEER has built trust with the residents by educating them about heat adaptation using their own living conditions as an example.

The residents are encouraged to learn that by making a small change to their rooftops, they can significantly reduce the extreme heat conditions they are currently facing. As most adults are out of the home during the day for work, the community is particularly concerned about the well-being of children and elderly family members. The residents are excited about the concept of MEER and are ready to adopt it. They have agreed to install sensors in their homes for research purposes and expect MEER to quickly solve their problems.


The team mapped an experimental site using GIS and Google Earth. The site had testing houses enclosed within a quadrilateral structure of five lanes. Each lane had varying numbers of homes and the team had 17 members. They counted houses, identified metal roofs, and marked houses in sunlight or shadows. The team conducted the task at two different time intervals. They examined the lanes from an elevation point to determine the reach of sun rays on all the houses.

During the second phase of the project, the team worked on selecting houses from the most heat-prone lanes. This phase was completely theoretical, and they carried out the task in the MEER's office in that area. Lane 1 was not impacted much by the heat, so it was eliminated. The team marked lanes 2, 3, 4, and 5 together and chose a total of 13 houses to deploy sensors. They used 34 sensors in total, with 2 sensors for each house and 2 for each alleyway. After completing the task, the MEER team met a friendly medical shop owner who asked about their educational background and purpose. They asked him for advice on gaining the community's trust, and he offered to provide contact details for a local politician who could help accelerate the project. He also offered any other assistance as needed.

The team then deployed sensors to monitor temperature and humidity levels. Two types of sensors were used: one measuring beneath the metal roof and the other measuring the air temperature and humidity of the room. They placed two sensors in each alleyway.

Residents had mixed emotions when asked to participate in an experiment. Despite confusion, they offered hospitality and support, moving the MEER team. They hope MEER will ease rising heat and the team strives for success.

India heat problem

Long Term Goals

In India, data from the hottest months of March to May is crucial for analyzing heat impact. The MEER Indian team is focused on understanding climate mitigation and building heat adaptations for those in need. After two months, MEER sheets will be introduced to reduce heat impact. Scientific data will be used to finalize an adaptation strategy for the area.

MEER adaptations can help reduce heat-related issues caused by climate change. MEER provides cheap, durable, and straightforward solutions at minimal costs. The organization conducts surveys to understand the needs and problems of people and shares their stories across all MEER platforms to attract attention from others who can help.

Once the scientific results of Hanuman Nagar are achieved, MEER intends to expand the concept to other regions across India, utilizing the data obtained from this research to help scale the project in other parts of the country and encourage more people to join MEER in their mission. Scientific data serves as the foundation for the project to achieve long-term objectives in scaling adaptation and mitigation.

India heat problem

“Climate change is real. It is happening right now, it is the most urgent threat facing our entire species and we need to work collectively together and stop procrastinating.”

Leonardo Di Caprio, Actor & Environmentalist

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