One of the really big myths is that metal roofs make a house hotter than other roof types. Anyone who has spent time on a tile roof knows that every roof – with the exception of thatched and green roofs, gets hellishly hot. And that heat radiates straight into your roof space and then continues into your home. There are many products now available to reduce that heat transfer including roof paints. However none are perfect and certainly none can actually reduce the temperature… until now!
Researchers from the University of Technology Sydney (UTS Science) have just released news of a material that stays cooler than the ambient air temperature! The invention has the capacity to significantly reduce cooling costs and the environmental impact of air-conditioning!
Made by stacking polymers on to a thin silver film, the new material absorbs just 3 percent of sunlight. If that doesn’t impress you, how about the fact that it also radiates heat out at infrared wavelengths that are not absorbed by the atmosphere. That means that the reflected heat is dissipated directly into space rather than warming our atmosphere. But wait, there’s more…
According to Geoff Smith, one of the lead researchers, the team demonstrated…
“for the first time how to make a roof colder than the air temperature around it, even under the most intense summer conditions. Roofs heat up by absorbing sunlight, so darker roofs can get very hot. Even white roofs still absorb enough sunlight to warm up by 9 to 12 degrees Celsius.
Cool roofing reduces the severity of the urban heat island problem in towns and cities and helps eliminate peak power demand problems from the operation of many air conditioners. The added feedback benefits from cool roofs are not yet widely appreciated, but recent reports have shown they are substantial. Examples include ventilation with cooler air and higher performance of rooftop air-conditioning installations.”
It’s easy to think of inventions like this as being theoretical and unlikely to impact your home building choices but, in this case, you’d be wrong! The materials used to create this test roof are already commercially available. That means they can be easily and cost effectively adopted by the construction industry.
We think the future is an exciting place. What are your thoughts? Share them with us by using the comments box below.