Skip to main content
Blog Post 8 November 2021

Adapting to higher temperatures in off-grid Pakistan

On Monday 8 November, world leaders will come together to consider how to deliver the practical solutions needed to adapt to climate impacts, build resilience to external shocks, and address loss and damage. Governments will need to develop forward looking policies and programmes to protect their people, societies, economies, and ecosystems.

The United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal 7, which aims to ‘ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all’, will be critical in helping communities adapt to the impacts of climate change. However, across many areas in Sub-Saharan Africa and South-East Asia, many people lack access to electricity and appliances and technologies, which help them irrigate crops, run their businesses, and keep cool in rising temperatures

Energy Saving Trust is committed to achieving this goal through our work on the Low Energy Inclusive Appliances (LEIA) programme, which aims to halve the cost and double the efficiency of a range of appliances suited to off- and weak-grid settings and is funded by UK aid and the IKEA Foundation. We manage the Efficiency for Access Research and Development Fund, also funded by UK aid and the IKEA Foundation, which aims to accelerate the affordability and efficiency of appliances suited to areas without access to the national energy grid – or those areas off-grid.

Here, we take a closer look at one of the innovative technologies being developed by Efficiency for Access Research and Development awardees that is helping to keep Pakistan cool.

Harnessing the power of the sun

Amid climate change, appliances such as fans can be lifesaving, especially for women and the elderly who traditionally spend more time at home. Many people who need fans do not currently have access to them. Compared with other technologies, such as air conditioners, efficient, solar-powered fans are a low-cost and practical solution to keep people cool. They are accessible for people with low incomes and better suited to those living in rural areas that are not connected to the national electricity grid.

In Pakistan, people are increasingly having to adapt to scorching heat for eight months of the year, with temperatures expected to rise faster than the global average from climate change. Over 25% of people in Pakistan live off-grid and the energy grid is notoriously unreliable. It is also estimated that in Pakistan and Bangladesh, 15 – 30% of people still lack access to electricity.

As such, fans must run for 18-20 hours a day to avoid dehydration and help children sleep. Many existing fans are inefficient and expensive to run. The Efficiency for Access Research and Development Fund, managed by Energy Saving Trust, awarded Harness Energy, Pakistan a grant to develop highly efficient solar-powered fans for use in rural and hard-to-reach areas.

This fan can be powered by a 12V solar system, any battery or an AC/DC adapter, and is also more energy efficient than other fans on the market. It uses a highly efficient motor (brushless DC) that conserves energy and increases the lifespan and reliability of the product.

Ensuring resilience in the face of challenges

Since the Covid-19 pandemic began, billions of people across the world have been impacted, and it has become increasingly clear that affordable, energy efficient appliances can help people in the world’s poorest countries build resilience to external shocks.

Pakistan has had relatively few deaths per capita from Covid-19, however many people have lost jobs and businesses have experienced slowing sales. Harness Energy’s solar home systems and fans are available to purchase in instalments, so they are more affordable for households on lower incomes.

One customer, Nukhti, described how using the solar-powered fan meant there was no need to worry when there were power outages, as she could still bake bread and her children could play in the evenings. Ultimately, for many people like Nukhti, solar-energy powered fans help keep them cool, ensuring they are more resilient in the face of unexpected challenges, such as Covid-19 and climate change.

This video shows how Harness Energy’s fans are helping people in Pakistan cope with Covid-19.

Head to our Climate talk at COP26 hub to keep up to date with the latest news and announcements from the climate conference.

Last updated: 5 November 2021