Reduce air conditioning costs by 20%

Spain is experiencing heat waves this summer and science has confirmed what we all suspected: a A recent video released by NASA July is the hottest month on record. To deal with such dilemmas, we usually take refuge in air-conditioned spaces, but their high energy consumption and use of polluting gases can only be understood as a short-term solution. That is why, More alternatives are emerging to cool not only homes, but also vehicles such as cars And even electronic devices.

In the same way, Stanford University scientists have created a new type Different colors of paint are used to keep buildings cool in summer and heat in winter. This would not only mean a significant reduction in energy consumption, but also harmful emissions of greenhouse gases, which are the main causes of climate change.

These paints can be used to create low emissivity (i.e. high reflectivity) coatings without sacrificing the colorful visual appearance. This physical phenomenon significantly improves the thermal insulation of closed spaces. In addition, high infrared reflectivity reduces temperature rise in hot climates. Beyond their potential aesthetic appeal, the optical design of these products compares favorably with ultra-white paints that have a similar effect. Reduces annual energy consumption by 36% for heating and 20% for air conditioningAccording to tests by Stanford engineers.

Energy saving

In Published article In the magazine Proceedings of the National Academy of SciencesScientists collect some revealing data: Space heating and cooling accounts for about 13% of global energy consumption and about 11% of greenhouse gas emissions. For this reason, there is an urgent need to develop alternative methods and solutions that will drastically reduce these figures.

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“Heating energy and emissions are expected to continue to decrease due to increased energy efficiency, but The use of air conditioning is increasingEspecially in developing economies in a warming world,” said Yi Gui, professor of materials science and engineering and lead author of the study. Stanford University Press Release.

Various materials painted with low emissivity paints

Stanford University


According to Cui, “More attention is being paid to how to reduce heat transfer between human living and working spaces and their surroundings, and new materials are needed to improve insulation, such as low-electricity window films.” With that in mind The infrared spectrum of sunlight accounts for 49% of the planet’s natural warming By being adsorbed by surfaces, these films are highly effective and are a good example to follow in the development of thermal control paints. In fact, such products already exist, but they often have a silver or metallic gray color, which significantly limits their potential use.

To achieve a similar effect without sacrificing color, Cui and his team turned to Two layers are applied separately: Infrared reflective thanks to thousands of aluminum flakes and the top one, elegant and transparent to infrared, uses inorganic nanoparticles and comes in a wide range of colors. Both layers are water-repellent, so they are stable in humid environments, but that doesn’t mean they can be easily cleaned with water.

[Olvida el aire acondicionado: esta es la tecnología que mantiene tu coche fresco a 40º al sol]

If the target Insulate a building so that heat does not penetrate inside, these paints can be used on exterior walls and ceilings. Thus, although most of the infrared light passes through the colored layer, it is not absorbed as heat by the building material, but is reflected by the layer below. On the other hand, if heat needs to be kept in during the winter months, these paints can be used on interior walls so that the lower layer reflects infrared waves.

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The statistics are surprising: a finding by Qi and his team Able to reflect up to 80% of mid-high infrared light, which indicates that heat is not allowed to escape from the enclosed space. For its part, the color layer ‘reflects’ part of the near-infrared light, reducing air conditioning costs. “Both layers can be sprayed on various surfaces of various shapes and materials, providing an additional thermal barrier in various conditions,” said Yugan Peng, co-lead author of the study.


To verify the efficacy of the products developed by this laboratory, Scientists conducted various experiments. According to the results obtained, the new paints were able to reduce the energy required for heating by about 36% and for cooling by more than 20%, always in an artificial environment.

To put these data into perspective, researchers conducted Different simulations of medium-sized apartment buildings The effect of being painted inside and out with these paints. To do this, they took into account different climates, and when calculating the total energy consumption in a year for heating and cooling, an average of about 7.4% was reduced.

One of the laboratories of Stanford University

One of the laboratories of Stanford University

Stanford University


In addition to its energy efficiency, Cui and his team They put Tests the durability of paints in extreme environments. To do this, they were subjected to continuous exposure for a week in high temperature (80 ºC), low temperature (-195.5 ºC), as well as high and low acidity environments, without compromising their aesthetic properties or their performance in any way. During isolation.

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These paints are not limited to use in buildings, but have other practical applications to improve energy efficiency. Among the examples raised by the researchers is the possibility Covered trucks and rail cars used for air-conditioned transport. In these cases, almost half of the budget of those exports goes precisely on the high costs of refrigeration.

To verify its effectiveness, Stanford scientists tested it in their facilities White, blue, red, yellow, green, orange, purple and dark gray colors. According to the results obtained, they are decisive in the article: they are 10 times more effective when reflecting medium-high infrared light than conventional paints of the same colors.

Thus, these revolutionary paints can become A key tool for passive climate controlReduces reliance on heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems, which continue to use large amounts of energy.

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