AkzoNobel, the paint, coatings and specialty chemical company, has developed exterior wall paints that reflect more infrared light to reduce heat absorption and reduce energy consumption.
With this technology, an average house can save up to 15 percent on energy, while offices and apartment buildings can save up to 10 percent. Conveniently, architects and designers do not need to compromise the color palette to suit engineering needs.
The company’s Dulux Weathershield KeepCool exterior paint reflects sun and infrared radiation by as much as 90 percent of other similar paints, which allows less heat to be transferred to the building interior, and in turn requiring less energy to cool the building. Normally, infrared radiation is absorbed through the paint and transferred to the interior of the building through conduction.
About half of all sunlight is in the infrared spectrum, so AkzoNobel focused on eliminating pigments that absorb infrared radiation. The approach taken was to increase solar reflectivity by carefully selecting the best combination of pigments. Getting the same color with alternative pigments required innovative science, aided by sophisticated predictive software.
This could be an interesting complement to technology developed earlier this year by scientists at Michigan State University—which can effectively turn glass windows into solar panels. This is achieved through a translucent solar cell which can capture energy from the invisible parts of the light spectrum, but still let in visible light. The transparent luminescent solar concentrator uses organic molecules created to absorb invisible wavelengths of light, such as ultraviolet and near infrared light. The material moves this invisible light to the edges of the panel, where strips of photovoltaic solar cells absorb and convert it to electricity.
In other AkzoNobel news, the company in October announced it discovered a way to add self-cleaning properties and extend the life of its paints. Pioneered by one of the company’s product developers, Dr. Peter Greenwood, the company added colloidal silica to its paints and found it gave them this unique quality and durability. Through rigorous testing, AkzoNobel found that the paints now last up to 16 years, which is 25 percent longer than the standard product.