White houses can be boring. But they could save the planet. USA Today reports that Purdue University researchers developed an ultra-white paint, which reflects 98.1 percent solar radiation and emits infrared heat. This paint leaves the surface cooler than the surrounding environment, while regular paint warms it. It can be used to replace air conditioning in certain cases. It can cool up to 10kW for a 1,000sq. roof. This is more than an average house AC unit.
Existing paints that reflect heat are available, but they don't reflect more than 90% of the sun and don't cool surfaces. It was not possible for the team to have more breathing room.
It was important to use a high amount of barium sulfate. This compound is often found in photo paper and cosmetics. A wider variety of sizes allows for more light to be scattered and reflect back more sunlight.
Although it's unclear how close this paint is to the local store, the researchers are determined to commercialize their findings. The researchers have filed patents and have already teamed up with a company to mass produce and sell the paint. It could be a significant contributor to climate change if it lives up the claims. It could help reduce or eliminate the use of air conditioning in homes, especially in areas with plenty of sunlight. This could lower emissions and power consumption and save money during hot summer days.