Painting the outside of your home a new color is a satisfying way to make a space your own. Now, thanks to Stanford University engineers, a new line of colorful paints may help reduce home energy use and save homeowners money every month.
The new reflective paints vary in color and are aimed to keep buildings cool in the summer and warm in the winter. Laboratory experiments with the paint revealed that it could reduce the need for heating by 36% and decrease energy dedicated to cooling by 21%.
Computer models revealed that if the paint were applied to the roof and walls of a typical mid-rise apartment building, it could decrease the total energy use for heating, ventilation, and cooling by up to 7.4% every year.
The paint utilizes a dual-layer technology to reflect light back into the atmosphere. The bottom layer of aluminum flakes reflects heat radiation, while the top allows some infrared radiation in and contains tiny color particles that give the paint its color.
The paint can be applied to both the exterior of houses to keep the heat energy out during the warmer months and to the inside of homes to keep the warm energy in during the winter.
So far, researchers have tested white, blue, red, yellow, green, orange, purple, and dark gray paints and found them to be “ten times more effective at reflecting infrared light than conventional paints.”
Worldwide, heating and cooling accounts for 13% of energy use. As global temperatures continue to increase, experts expect this figure to jump.
Passive technologies, like using reflective paints or building structures with south-facing windows, are integral to keeping heating and cooling costs down for homeowners and reducing energy expenditures.
Aside from homes, these paints can also be applied to vehicles like trucks and trains to help further bounce infrared light back into space and keep the cars cool during the warm months.
Join our free newsletter for weekly updates on the coolest innovations improving our lives and saving our planet.