Purdue University scientists discovered the world's best white paint. This discovery not only gives us another option to the question of "which color should we paint this wall?" but may also help with the climate crisis.
Purdue's Xiulin Ruan, a professor of mechanical engineering, and his graduate students created the paint that earned it a Guinness World Records award. The paint works by using a process called "radiative cool," Purdue researchers demonstrated in a paper. This passive cooling technology offers great promise to lower space cooling costs, combat the urban island effect and reduce global warming.
The idea behind this paint is to reflect sunlight and heat away form a building.
Xiulin Ruan (a Purdue University professor in mechanical engineering) and his students have created some of the most beautiful paints ever recorded. Credit: Purdue University photo/John Underwood
Ruan stated that "When we started the project seven years ago, it was about saving energy and fighting global warming in our minds."
They created a paint that would reflect the sun away from buildings, thereby drastically reducing the need to air conditioners. Cooling down your home actually heats up the earth. CNBC reports that heating, cooling and lighting are responsible for 28% of global greenhouse gas emissions. Overusing air conditioners can cause blackouts and overload the city's power grid, which can have devastating consequences.
In Queens, a blackout left 175,000 people without power in 2006. This led to 40 deaths. This paint could be used as an alternative to air conditioners.
Purdue claims that white paint emits infrared heat and reflects 98.1 percent solar radiation. It was made with high levels of barium sulfate (a chemical compound used in cosmetics and photo paper).
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While regular white paint can get warmer, this paint absorbs heat and is able to cool below the ambient temperature without using any power. Researchers found that covering a 1,000-square-foot roof with the paint could produce 10 kilowatts worth of cooling power.
Ruan said to This Is Purdue, "That's more powerful than most air conditioners used in most houses."
Although you can't purchase the paint right now, Purdue's news release states that researchers have partnered with a company to make the paint available to the public. Individual actions can help to reduce climate change such as reducing your use of air conditioners. However, the vast majority of global greenhouse gas emissions can be traced back 100 companies. It might be possible to spray these companies with ultra-white paint.