Ewaste remains a massive problem. We’re two high school students who launched Ecoolair, a solar-powered fan project, to tackle ewaste and deliver affordable, cooler lifestyles.

In March of 2023, CBS News reported that more than 90% of discarded solar panels end up in landfills and as such, by 2030 we are expected to have an area equivalent to approximately 3,000 football fields of retired panels. Next, PIRG noted that in the United States alone, we generate about 6.9 million tons of e-waste each year. Then, they reported WEF’s estimate that we’ll produce around 81.6 million tons of e-waste globally– yearly. Finally, the Brookings Institution found that 23 million US residents are currently living in neighborhoods experiencing intense heat, facing high energy costs, and housing vulnerable residents least able to cope with these impacts.

Hi, we’re Ishita and Danielle. With our solar powered fans, we have a plan to take steps against our current national climate– both personal and environmental. We believe that our community project will contribute to the global efforts in mitigating the current harms our environment and millions of people face.

Hopefully, by the end of this article, you too can help out!

So, Ecoolair?

Ecoolair is a portmanteau: ECO + cool + air. Get it?

Our narrative unfolds with a single conversation. Reflecting on our journeys back to our homelands, India and The Philippines, we were taken aback by the discovery of a lone commonality– our families were both reluctant to turn on the AC, even as they endured in the heat. We have set ourselves on the distribution of accessible solar powered fans.

What began as a lighthearted exchange evolved into a profound realization: People don’t like the cost of AC, and many can’t even afford it. We realized that this shared phenomenon extended beyond our native lands and resonated in the United States as well. With that began our resolve to implement a solution to what confused us, what we witnessed, and what we experienced.

After conducting extensive research, we have found that old PC fans are an adequate and sustainable material to provide a mode of cooling comfort. Additionally, having them powered by discarded solar panels is a further step towards sustainability. 

This way, we kill three birds with one stone (or at least knock them off their course a little).

Ecoolair’s Big Goal

The bridge between accessibility and affordability of cooling comfort continues to widen day by day. Nationwide, currently, more than half a million public and low-income housing units don’t have air conditioning.

AC units are a luxury more than ever– not everyone is entitled to.

Looking at recent statistics, it is seen that 32,000 deaths and 65,000 hospitalizations were attributable to extreme heat in households or workplaces. These cases were commonly in low-income families, who again were victims to this cooling comfort disparity. Given that temperatures are only expected to spike, it becomes more essential than ever to help address this crisis. 

Ecoolair fans are not only free of cost in terms of purchase, installation, and maintenance, but also poised to eliminate the cooling comfort dilemma burdening our households. Leveraging a readily available energy source, our fans can be implemented in households across the nation.

We aim not only to increase the number of households with access to cooling comfort, but also to decrease hospitalizations resulting from a lack thereof, providing not just an accessible product but a life-saving solution.

By recycling discarded solar panels and PC fans, we actively reduce the environmental impact. This includes lowering the initial 3.4% greenhouse gas emissions associated with production and the leakage of harmful metals (lead and cadmium) from disposed solar panels into the ground. This holistic approach contributes to improved human and environmental health.

Anyone Can Help!

While our aspirations may be high, we need to source discarded PC fans and solar panels. And we need your help!

If you are an individual or you know someone seeking to recycle a computer, we invite you to consider donating PC fans to our cause! Check out our website, or shoot an email to us at ecoolair24@gmail.com and we can work together to figure shipping details out. The same appeal extends to solar panels: if you are exploring ways to recycle them, we would love to be the solution you choose!

If you are an organization whose primary focus is recycling e-waste or solar panels, we kindly ask for your support in donating some of the PC fans or solar panels you receive! For interest in collaboration or affiliation contact us with ecoolair24@gmail.com.

We Can Make a Difference Together

We need all the outreach we can get. If you can, please spread the word. Ecoolair not only has the potential to benefit the environment but also to make a positive impact on your life. By joining forces with us, you take a significant step towards sustainability, embracing the green path. Simultaneously, you contribute to providing cooling comfort – a necessity that should never have been considered a luxury.

All we ask is for your assistance in being our provider for the materials needed to make this project and its mission a reality.

If you’ve reached the end of this article, we express our gratitude for your patience and time, and sincerely hope you’ll consider supporting our cause. Thanks!

About the authors

Ishita Masetty is currently a high school student in Indiana. Dreaming of a future in Chemical Engineering, she spends her spare time diving into classics of hopeless romance, annoying her brothers (dog included), and staying up-to-date on the latest technological advancements. 

Danielle Esguerra is a high school student in Indiana. Amidst a sea of assignments, she works at the local care home, supporting the carers and singing for the residents. From a young age, she’s had a fascination for the physical sciences, developing into a passion for their applications to humanitarian and environmental efforts.

By Earth911

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