Cooling paint could reduce building emissions through lower air conditioning reliance

Cooling paint could reduce building emissions through lower air conditioning reliance

October 23, 2020 0 By Angie Bergenson

Researchers have developed a new form of white coating to help keep building temperatures down.

A new type of white cooling paint has the potential to stop buildings from heating up as much, reducing their reliance on air conditioning, thereby decreasing resulting emissions.

Research showed that the new coating was capable of reflecting 95.5 percent of sunlight.

As a result of the greatly reflected sunlight, the cooling paint reduced the building’s temperature by 1.7ºC when compared to ambient air conditions. The engineers behind the development say that calcium carbonate particles in different sizes were behind its ability to keep temperatures down. Since the building’s temperature is kept lower, its reliance on air conditioning may also be reduced.

This has the potential to significantly impact emissions resulting from air conditioner use. Buildings of all forms are among the largest CO2 emission sources. World Green Building Council data shows that building heating, air conditioning and lighting comprises approximately 28 percent of the world’s CO2 emissions. The reason is that most building heating and cooling is powered by natural gas, coal and oil. In Europe, fossil fuels provide about 75 percent of heating and air conditioning needs.

The cooling paint helps to boost the efficiency of the buildings to reduce heating and air conditioning.

Boosting air conditioning and heating efficiency has been a focus among researchers for decades. Several types of reflective paints have been developed for home and office building exteriors. These were created to reflect sunlight to keep interior temperatures down. That said, none of the products developed until this point have deflected enough sunlight to make the building’s temperature measurably lower than the ambient air temperature.

American researchers at Purdue University in Indiana came up with a product that has been able to break that trend.

“In one experiment where we put a painted surface outside under direct sunlight, the surface cooled 1.7C below the ambient temperature and during night time it even cooled up to 10C below the ambient temperature,” said one of the cooling paint study’s authors, Professor Xiulin Ruan. Cooling paint - Can of white paint - painting“This is a significant amount of cooling power that can offset the majority of the air conditioning needs for typical buildings.”