Whitest paint in world to be sold, could cool homes and replace AC

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  • The paint reflects 98.1% of solar radiation and also radiates infrared heat.
  • How soon will it hit the shelves at a major retailer?
  • The paint is intended for use on roofs, including shingles and metal roofs.

The lead researcher behind the whitest paint ever made says the highly reflective paint is on track to be sold to the general public, who could one day cool their homes by simply painting their roof.

News of the paint, certified by the Guinness World Record book, has made a splash around the world. It is intended to one day reduce or eliminate the need for air conditioning, according to the researchers who developed it.

In fact, the paint reflects 98.1% of solar radiation and also radiates infrared heat.

Because the paint absorbs less heat from the sun than it gives off, a surface coated with this paint is cooled below the ambient temperature without consuming energy.

Researchers hope the paint will be available from a major retailer in the future.

“The paint is not yet available on the market,” Xiulin Ruan, the project’s principal investigator, told USA TODAY on Thursday. “We are currently working with a major company to bring the paint to market and hopefully it will be on the market in a few years.”

More: Scientists have created the whitest paint in the world. It could eliminate the need for air conditioning.

And once it’s on the market, can homeowners paint shingles or metal roofs with the paint?

“Yes, the paint is intended for use on roofs, including shingles and metal roofs,” Ruan said. “It can be used on other infrastructures where commercial paints are used.”

The paint should be a boon in both cool climates and warm climates, he added.

“From an energy saving point of view, it will be more useful in hot climates as it requires more cooling. On the other hand, it can be used in both hot and cold climates to reverse the trend of global warming.

“Using them in the Arctic and Antarctic regions (for example, on their roofs) should help cool the areas and prevent glaciers from melting,” Ruan said.

New to this paint is that typical commercial white paint gets warmer rather than cooler: paints on the market designed to repel heat only reflect 80% to 90% of sunlight and cannot make surfaces cooler than their surroundings.

Two characteristics make this paint ultra-white, according to Purdue University: a very high concentration of a chemical compound called barium sulfate — also used in photo paper and cosmetics — and different particle sizes of barium sulfate in the paint, Purdue scientists said.

This white paint from Purdue is the result of research building on efforts dating back to the 1970s to develop radiant cooling paint as a viable alternative to traditional air conditioners, according to a university press release.

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