New Material Keeps Roofs Cool in Sunlight

June 26, 2015

Development could mitigate urban heat island effect.

While facility roofs typically heat up in the summer, a new material can keep roof surfaces cooler than the surrounding ambient air temperature, even under direct sunlight.

The design, created by researchers at the University of Technology Sydney, uses a stack of coated polymers and a silver film that yields solar reflectance and thermal emittance values near 100%. The material also absorbs just 3% of incident sunlight and keeps the roof’s surface over 50 degrees F. (or 11 degrees C.) colder than a typical commercial white roof. The new surface was created with commercially available plastic materials.

In addition to reducing the urban heat island effect, the study notes that the new technology could improve the efficiency of facility ventilation and air conditioning systems. Furthermore, the researchers tested the design in a variety of environments and found that even in the presence of dirt and grime the material maintains its thermal properties. The results were published in Advanced Science.

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