Stanford University researchers have developed an innovative paint that aims to revolutionize building energy efficiency by keeping structures cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter, leading to substantial reductions in energy consumption, costs, and greenhouse gas emissions.
The new paint formulation exhibited promising results in experiments. When used in cold environments, it reduced heating energy usage by approximately 36 percent, and in warm conditions, it lowered cooling energy requirements by nearly 21 percent.
Simulations conducted on a typical mid-rise apartment building across various US climate zones showed a 7.4 percent decline in total heating, ventilation, and air conditioning energy consumption throughout the year when the new paint was applied to exterior walls and roofs.
Yi Cui, professor of materials science and engineering, energy science and engineering, and photon science at SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory and senior author of the study, emphasized the importance of reducing energy usage and emissions related to heating and cooling, particularly with increasing air conditioning demands, especially in developing nations facing a warming climate.
The novel paint features a two-layer application process: an infrared reflective base layer using aluminum flakes and an ultrathin, infrared transparent upper layer employing inorganic nanoparticles that come in various colors.
The new paint's color layer enables it to reflect high mid-infrared light efficiently, contributing to improved insulation and reduced air conditioning requirements. The paints were found to be significantly better at reflecting high mid-infrared light than conventional paints in the same colors.
The paints' versatility extends beyond buildings, offering potential applications in other domains such as transportation. For instance, they could be used to cover refrigerated trucks and train cars, reducing cooling expenses, according to the team.
The researchers also assessed the paints' practicality, confirming their water-repellent properties for enhanced stability in humid environments. The painted surfaces remained aesthetically pleasing and functional even after exposure to extreme temperatures and acidic environments.
The research team continues to work on optimizing the paint formulations for practical applications, with a focus on environmentally friendly solutions for broader commercialization.
According to techtimes.com & news.stanford.edu