Can painting the outside of your home the right color eliminate the need for air conditioning? It sounds like science fiction, but it could soon become a reality.
Scientists at Purdue University have created the world’s whitest paint – certified by no less than Guinness World Records – and in the process may have reduced the need for air conditioning.
The coating reflects 98.1% of the solar radiation while also emitting infrared heat. Less heat absorption than it emits allows the paint to keep the roof of the house cooler than the ambient temperature.
New paint differs from standard white paint that only reflects 80% to 90% of sunlight. This coating prevents cooling of the surface being covered.
By contrast, applying the new paint over a surface of about 1,000 square feet could create 10 kilowatts of cooling power. Xiulin Ruan, professor of mechanical engineering at Purdue University, notes that such an effect is “stronger than air conditioners used in most homes.”
According to a Bordeaux press release:
“Two features make this paint extremely white: a very high concentration of a chemical compound called barium sulfate — also used in photo paper and cosmetics — and different particle sizes of barium sulfate in the paint. The wavelength of sunlight scattered by each particle depends on its size, so the range of Wider particle sizes allow the coating to scatter more of the light spectrum from the sun.”
Purdue researchers are currently partnering with a company to bring the paint to market. But until it’s available, you can try to stay cool on the cheap using the tips in “How to Build Your Own Air Conditioner in Minutes.”
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