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Air conditioning is a huge contributor to carbon dioxide emissions, but a new white paint that can be used on buildings may relieve the need for the energy-consuming practice.
A recent study found a type of new white paint can reflect 95.5% of sunlight. This means buildings that use the paint can have a temperature 1.7°C less than ambient air conditions.
The World Green Building Council claims the lighting, heating and cooling of buildings is responsible for 28% of CO2 emissions. With this in mind, there is a clear market for paint that reduces the need for air conditioning. The new paint is the first that enables temperatures inside to fall below that of the ambient air conditions.
The paint does this by using a variety of calcium carbonate particles, the different sizes of particles are able to ‘scatter wavelengths’ of sunlight.
The details of the new paint were published in the Cell Reports Physical Science journal, and Professor Xiulin Ruan explained the theory behind it:
Sunlight is a broad spectrum of wavelengths, we know that each particle size can only scatter one wavelength effectively so we decided to use different particle sizes to scatter all the wavelengths. This is an important contributor eventually resulting in this very high reflectance.
It is believed that the paint will be useful for buildings like data centres, where regulating heat is vital and because of this value, the paint has patents filed as well as considerable interest from manufacturers.
If the paint can consistently deliver a building temperature that is 1.7°C less than ambient air, without the assistance of air conditioning, then it may become an industry practice in the coming years.
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