New reflective coating keeps homes cool and comes in different colors

Just as wearing white clothing is a good way of beating the heat on hot days, painting our buildings white can also keep them cool and thus save a considerable amount of energy in the process.

But it isn’t easy to keep white clothes clean, and some of us like a bit more color in our lives. Thankfully, a new ultra-reflective coating will offer a kaleidoscope of cooling colors to choose from.

Developed by Yuan Yang, a materials scientist at Columbia University in New York City, the new wondrous material consists of a specialized paint coating made from two layers. The bottom layer is made using a porous polymer that scatters and reflects infrared light; the upper layer is a commercial colored paint.

Testing carried out on a sunny summer’s day showed the black version of the two-layer paint kept an object 15.6C (28.8F) cooler than standard black paint. If applied to a building the scientists estimate their coating could reduce solar heating on a wall by 10-20 percent.

What’s particularly great is that the new coating is adaptable and could be used to paint buildings, cars, and even textiles, potentially giving us the option of a color change.

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