Energy savings and environmental protection go hand in hand, but it will go better if comfort is at the meeting. Scientists have developed a roofing material that is able to cool the house in summer and retain heat in winter.
Properly insulating your home is a very effective way to save money, but also to reduce the emission of greenhouse gases that warm the planet. In this area, all innovations are welcome, and some of them could well transform thermal coatings in depth.
A smart coating to reduce the electricity bill
Currently, roof coatings make it possible to cool houses: the roof reflects sunlight, which helps to maintain a comfortable temperature inside in summer. The other side of the coin, the same coatings are of no help in winter: they continue to reject the sun’s heat when it could be used to heat the house! Currently, the opposite is happening, this type of roof cools the home and thus forces the heating to increase.
Researchers at the University of Berkeley, California, have developed a material called TARC (Temperature adaptive radiation coating). The principle is to cool the house in the summer, just like the current coatings, and to heat it in the winter. To achieve this, the researchers utilized vanadium dioxide, a metal that conducts electricity but not heat… above 67 degrees. When the outside temperature falls below this threshold, it can conduct heat.
The researchers’ task was to lower the temperature threshold from which vanadium dioxide becomes a heat conductor: TARC is capable of this from 25 degrees. In cold weather, the coating therefore retains heat. Ultimately, the achievable savings thanks to this material can amount to 10% of the electricity bill, after the team has carried out 100,000 energy simulations carried out over a year. Not insignificant, not only for purchasing power, but also for limiting its carbon footprint.