How designers would use the new cooling paint color

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A few years ago, the scientific and academic communities celebrated the development of Vantablack, a material capable of absorbing up to 99.9% of visible light. His invention had exciting implications for solar power and perhaps even space exploration, and artist Anish Kapoor covered his infamous Cloud Gate sculpture in Chicago with the substance. Now, the blackest color black has met its equal in the whitest white, which was created this year by researchers at Purdue University.

The “ultra-white” paint was designed with a very high percentage of barium sulfate, a chemical compound with particles of different sizes that allow the paint to diffuse more light. In fact, the Purdue team found that color can reflect up to 981% of sunlight, which could have jaw-dropping real consequences in the fight against climate change, especially in its ability. to cool buildings without the need for air conditioning.

“Potential applications include building roofs, food storage units, warehouses, data centers, outdoor equipment, automobiles, etc.,” says Purdue researcher Xiangyu Li. Beautiful house. “[W]We also want to lower the barrier for the general public to adopt the new paint, which is why we made the new paint compatible with existing commercial paints. The manufacturing process and the overall cost are similar, and it can also be easily brushed and applied to different surfaces similar to commercial paints. ”

Given this ease, ultra-white paint may be available on the market in a few years. We turned to interior designers, architects and people elsewhere in the sustainable design space to find out how they would use the product in their projects and with their clients.

Under the solar panels

“The best place to apply this paint would be in roofing and siding materials, so as to prevent heat from building up on the roof and walls and radiating into the house. The other benefit of a cooler roof is that solar panels are much more efficient at lower temperatures, so lowering the roof temperature will significantly increase solar panel output.
—Marc Clejan, Founder of Sustainable Design Company Modern NetZero

Around an artistic installation

“I can imagine using ultra-white to wash sunlight off a ceiling or reflect indirect light deeply into an interior space. We’ve collaborated with artists who use bright, flat whites to refract or diffuse light around their installations, so I’d be curious to see how this has enhanced or interacted with art in a gallery or museum. We already prefer to use very white finishes on interior walls due to the play of light and shade on these surfaces. Ultra-white could provide the opportunity to do this in an even more dramatic way, allowing us to create a heightened sense of poetry and transformation.
—Kevin M. Kudo-King, AIA, LEED AP, director of architectural firm Olson Kundig

On a roof terrace

“The albedo effect has a negative impact on the thermal balance and climate of the Earth, but when radiation is reflected rather than absorbed by materials, the reverse can happen. Highly reflective paint is a no-brainer for flat roofs and roofing equipment. Would love to try it out on a rooftop terrace which gets lots of sun and see if we need sunglasses! “
—Catherine Fowlkes, director of the architectural firm Fowlkes Studio

Outside a building

“I’m from the Caribbean, so the first thing I would do is paint so many houses! Besides thinking about passive cooling when building, this is a great way to approach this point in a low-tech way. I could also paint all my patio floors with it to make it cooler underfoot. “
—Maryline Damour, co-founder and lead designer at Damour Drake

For a pool house

“I love the idea of ​​using this ultra-white paint all over the exterior of a pool house – walls, roof and moldings! I can just imagine the surrounding greenery and the water reflecting beautifully off the surfaces. The white roof would also keep the interior of the pool house cool, helping to reduce energy consumption. Win, win! “
—Jennifer Jones, Principal Designer of Niche Interiors

In a veranda

“The new ultra-white paint would be a perfect addition to any sunroom walls, ceiling treatments or a screened porch. I love to paint the backdrops of these types of spaces in shades of white, which helps to shine the sunlight, the natural landscape, and the environment through the windows that typically fill these spaces.
—Cara Fox, owner and lead designer of home construction company Fox Group

On the stucco walls

“The new ‘ultra-white’ paint is an incredible product for us. We use a lot of white in our design, both interior and exterior, and can see multiple uses for this paint. It might be beneficial to paint our stucco walls white with this white paint. We usually use built-in paint stucco, but painting it will not change the design and give us such added value in its cooling properties.
—Mary Maydan, Founder and Director of Maydan Architects

As part of a Brise-Soleil

“I would like to combine ultra-white paint with a solar shading in a chic beach house or in the desert. The highly reflective surface of the paint would likely increase the efficiency of the sunshade’s passive daylight performance, causing natural light to bounce further into the interior. By combining the two passive strategies, you maximize your energy efficiency by reducing both air conditioning and lighting required during the day. It’s a win-win for the environment and your energy bill! “
—Sarah Hill, Director of Urban Pioneering Architecture

Made in a stained glass window

“We are working on the renovation of a townhouse with a skylight at the top of a mahogany stairwell. Above the staircase is a beautiful stained glass skylight, and above it is the attic. We design a light box above the stained glass skylight so that the box captures all the sunlight and focuses it in the stained glass and the stairwell. We use this strategy to maximize the sunlight. using daylight through a large dark space, while taking advantage of existing conditions and details. Ultra-white paint would be an incredible option in this case. ”
– Ramona Albert, director of Ramona Albert Architecture

On metal outdoor furniture

“I would recommend this paint for flat roofs and metal roofs. As I became a LEED Accredited Professional, I learned that a light-colored roof significantly reduces energy costs in hot climates. It could also reduce the heat island effect in hot urban areas facing global warming. It would be interesting to try this paint on metal outdoor furniture as well, leaving it cool to the touch.
—Cameron Schwabenton, ASID, LEED AP, Principal of Cameron Stewart, Ltd. Co.

To brighten up a kitchen

“While there is no doubt that this ultra white paint will do wonders for the environment – the idea that it can be used to combat global warming is quite remarkable – but as a designer I am interested to how it could be used decoratively. Specifically, I’m curious when it will be available for use on my kitchen walls! Over the years, I have painted my kitchen different shades of white, and due to a lack of natural light, my kitchen always feels dark and a little dingy. I am always looking for a miracle painting… it is surely this one! “
—Madeline Stuart, Principal Designer at Madeline Stuart Associates

To pursue

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