February 9, 2023

Cool Roof: towards one billion m² of repainted roofs

Cool Roof: towards one billion m² of repainted roofs

At the Universités de l'Economie de Demain in Rennes, 3 future impact unicorns were revealed: 3 companies from Brittany and the Greater West of France spearheading the economy of tomorrow. The Tech for Good France community's goal is to bring these nuggets to the forefront throughout France. This approach is accompanied by a vast study conducted with BCG to identify and accelerate these impactful unicorns.

Discover the portrait and the testimony of Frédéric Lachèvre, President of Cool Roof France.

What is the activity of Cool Roof France

CoolRoof France is an ESUS company created in 2015, pioneer of thermo-reflective paints. We offer a low tech solution that contains a lot of high tech.  

The temperature management of buildings is done either by active modes such as air conditioning, or by passive modes that allow to maintain a comfortable average temperature. The problem we are tackling is the multiplication of air conditioners, it is estimated that there will be 5 billion of them in the world by 2050, that's 5 billion machines which, to make cold, produce heat.  

With CoolRoof, we offer a low-tech solution, paint, but which is actually extremely technical and ambitious in its properties. All of this in a social and solidarity economy approach with a horizontal governance and a reinvestment of 10% of our turnover in solidarity building activities abroad.  

With Cool Roof France, repainting roofs in white to lower the temperature of buildings by 6 degrees

What are your KPIs and objectives?

Our only KPI is the number of m² of roofs we repaint.  

This is what we are pursuing because it is this single metric that allows us to have an impact: one square meter painted is 2 kilos of CO² erased per year by not using air conditioning. From the analysis of the product's life cycle, we know that painting one square meter emits 4 kilos of CO², so our activity has a net positive impact from the third year.  

It is thanks to these calculations, carried out with ADEME and certified, that we know that we are not in the greenwashing business, unlike many other players who have launched after us and who do not necessarily respect the scientific principles of thermal paint.  

What does sobriety mean to you?

Sobriety is our core business, we make the use of air conditioners unnecessary and therefore quantities of energy are not used thanks to our paint. Beyond that, we have included the sobriety approach since the genesis of Cool Roof France.

Having an impact solution is not enough, it must be developed in a virtuous way, in a virtuous company!

The raw material of our product is also the result of a frugal innovation work with eco-designed, bio-based and pollutant-free components, which gives our paint better technical properties but also a much lower impact in its production.  

We are looking for coherence between our product, our organizational model and our practices . We have also carried out a measurement of our carbon footprint on the 3 scopes and a life cycle analysis. Our SSE status and ESUS approval as well as the fundraising with Time for the Planet are part of this quest for coherence.

Frédéric Lachèvre at the Universités de l'Economie de Demain in Rennes

What about an impact unicorn?

A unicorn is first and foremost a counter-model: it is a company based on an innovation, which is not always useful to society, on a fast-growing market, a highly qualified management team and a business model that burns money and is not based on profitability but on hyper growth.  

With Cool Roof, we have taken the inspiring elements of unicorns: a -useful- innovation, an efficient and qualified team but with a healthy business model that is not based mainly on an economic or financial indicator but on the impact.  

Our money is redistributed and reinvested, that's not the engine.  

Our main challenge is greenwashing : we place the cursor around science to validate the technical characteristics of the products. In our market, the only thing to look at is the Solar Reflectance Index (SRI), everything else is marketing and greenwashing. It is a major challenge to fight against this greenwashing that distorts the market and does not allow the consumer to make informed choices.

Watch Cool Roof's pitch at the Universités de l'Economie de Demain in Rennes:

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