Contact: Rae Ulrich

ASU’s Ten Across initiative awards Northern Arizona University the $100K 10X Clean Cooling Student Competition Grand Prize to implement Project SmartFan in partnership with Habitat for Humanity for heat disadvantaged communities.

Tempe, Arizona – March 19, 2024 – Five finalist student teams from colleges and universities along the Interstate 10 corridor took part in a fast-paced virtual pitch competition for the 10X Grand Prize—a $100,000 award for the most innovative and scalable clean cooling solution.

The 10X Prize is a new student competition hosted by the Ten Across initiative at Arizona State University (ASU) and is generously sponsored by the Clean Cooling Collaborative. Over 700 college and university teams from across the Southern tier of the U.S. were invited to design innovative and scalable clean cooling solutions for heat disadvantaged communities in collaboration with a community partner. Funds from the 10X Grand Prize will help to prototype and implement the team’s clean cooling solution.

Northern Arizona University’s Project SmartFan desert home, as imagined by team SmartFan and AI.

The inaugural Grand Prize was awarded to the team from Northern Arizona University, who presented Project SmartFan, which leverages fluctuating temperatures and the night-day temperature difference to bring in cool air when it’s hot, or hot air when it’s cool, redefining affordable cooling for underserved, heat disadvantaged communities.

Northern Arizona University Team SmartFan.

Northern Arizona University will receive $100,000 to move the project forward, and their partner, Habitat for Humanity, will receive an additional $50,000 to support implementation of the solution in 40 community starter homes in Flagstaff, Arizona.

“We’re honored to have had the opportunity to offer this important competition to colleges and universities in the Ten Across heat-challenged region and are thrilled to have had such a diverse group of solutions. Our goal of empowering and inspiring students to collaboratively develop creative clean and sustainable cooling solutions was far exceeded and we’re looking forward to following each team’s progression.”

Wellington “Duke” Reiter, Executive Director, Ten Across Initiative at Arizona State University 

In addition to the $100,000 grand prize, four $10,000 finalist awards were also presented as part of the competition:

  • Loyola University of New Orleans proposed Green Roofs are COOL, which offers a variety of options for growing plants on rooftops of assorted shapes and sizes, based on the design and construction of buildings and the interests of their owners and residents in New Orleans, Louisiana and beyond.
  • Los Angeles Technical and Trade College Architecture and Environmental Design Program presented Shade Structures and Systems, an open-access information platform and hands-on community training program that aims to provide shade solutions that mitigate the risks of extreme heat in at-risk communities.
  • Texas A&M Corpus Christi presented HydroCycle SolarHarvest: Eco-Friendly Circular Cooling and Water System for Underserved Communities, designed to provide sustainable cooling and clean water access to communities that experience extreme heat, water scarcity and unreliable power supplies. 
  • Cool Colibri, presented by the University of California Los Angeles team, is a revolutionary shade structure that features a novel material that utilizes passive daytime radiative cooling to create a microclimate that is cooler than ordinary shade without any power input.

“The 10X Prize Clean Cooling Competition showcased talented teams from across the country who showed us what the future of innovative solutions to climate challenges look like. But even more, it demonstrated the power of what’s possible when caring, committed people come together to learn from and care for one another and their community.”

Shannon M. Clancy, The Rob and Melani Walton Endowed CEO of St. Vincent DePaul Society – Phoenix, Arizona

Reflecting the multidisciplinary nature of the competition, Ten Across selected judges from diverse backgrounds to evaluate team submission materials, choose the finalist teams, and ultimately select one grand prize winner.

The judges panel included:

  • Shannon Clancy, Chief Executive Officer, St. Vincent de Paul Society-Phoenix;
  • Anne Coglianese, Chief Resilience Officer, City of Jacksonville, Florida;
  • Kristopher Eclarino, Technical Project Manager, Climate Reserve.
  • David Hondula, Director of Heat Response and Mitigation,  City of Phoenix, Arizona; and
  • Steven Lewis, Principal, ZGF Architects, LLP.

In addition to the top five finalist teams, a group of semi-finalists participated in the People’s Choice Award competition where the public selects their favorite clean cooling solution via an online voting process. Semi-finalist teams included solutions from the University of South Florida, Arizona State University, California State University Fresno and UC Berkeley. The $10,000 award was given to Loyola University of New Orleans, who will use the proceeds to support further development of their team’s Green Roofs are COOL initiative.

The competition was made possible through a generous sponsorship from the Clean Cooling Collaborative, a philanthropic initiative of the ClimateWorks Foundation.

“As rising global temperatures are already threatening livelihoods, the world needs sustainable and scalable ways to adapt to extreme heat. The Clean Cooling Collaborative is proud to support Ten Across’ competition, which connects students with tools and platforms to turn their bright ideas into a reality and advance local cooling solutions. Congratulations to all the winners and finalists for their inspiring project ideas that demonstrate the opportunities to sustainably cool communities and enhance resilience to extreme heat.”

— Axum Teferra, Senior Associate Director, Clean Cooling Collaborative

Competition photos are available [here].


About Ten Across
Positioned on the front lines of demographic, social, economic and climate change, the U.S. I-10 corridor presents the challenges of the 21st Century in their highest relief, providing an ideal observatory for the nation as a whole, one trained on critical trendlines and our capacity to respond to a knowable future. Ten Across, leverages this living observatory to convene, educate, and communicate diverse perspectives to better share information and to inspire proactive decision-making for a more resilient and sustainable future for all.

About the Clean Cooling Collaborative
The Clean Cooling Collaborative is an initiative of ClimateWorks Foundation focused on transforming the international cooling sector and making efficient, climate-friendly cooling for all a reality.