Cooling Paints: A Misnomer?

A DEFINITION OF “COOLING” as it applies to SOLAR, HEAT REFLECTIVE COATINGS. When coatings/paints can cool buildings and when they may not be enough by themselves~

CoolingAn action by something which actively reduces the kinetic or molecular energy (heat) of an object, person or place.  This implies that an action is occurring upon something already hot or overheated, that cools it. The reason why this is important is because there are numerous cooling paint  products appearing on the market which imply they can cool down your house or building by themselves.  They can be effective depending upon the house type, color and its location relative to the sun.   Bottom line is, IR pigmented solar reflective coatings and some cooling paints can get the building to start “cooling” down if:

1.  The house/building gets hot inside from the sun.

2.  The the house or building stays hot after the sun sets.

If your building has standard non-tinted windows, little or no insulation, a dark roof, solar reflective cool coatings on the walls will lessen these temperature dynamics. However, you’ll have to add some additional items in order to get optimized cooling of the building interior.

THESE ADDITIONS SHOULD INCLUDE A STRATEGIC COMBINATION OF THE FOLLOWING:

A cool roof or cool roof coating.

Plus:  Add a large tree(s) for shading the house/ a solar attic fan or whole house fan/radiant barrier coating or radiant barrier foil on the attic ceiling/ wall and roof insulation/ thermal film on the windows/ window shades or shutters/ add plants around the house/ tear out the asphalt yard or patio and plant a lawn/ cover your concrete patio with an artificial green turf.

Cooling is all relative! For one person, a 10 degree drop in inside temperature is substantial. For someone else, they may be looking for more. Others may be looking for less. The contrast can be the big change, but in overly hot buildings, cooling of both outside and inside has multiple benefits. These benefits include: improved quality of life in the house, lowered exterior maintenance costs, lower air conditioning costs/use. 

 Two good examples:

I was present for a situation where an office building got both a cool roof and solar reflective, cooling coatings (Thermo-Seal and Eco-Therm Elastomeric specifically) on its two story walls. A female tenant of one of the upstairs offices sometimes had to put on a sweater because the building now had such a contrast in temperature during really hot summer days from when she came in from outside.   Meanwhile, everyone else was raving about the cooling difference in the building and in their suites.

In another case, the western US home of a customer had rooms with daytime spring and summer temps over 85 degrees with the AC turned on HIGH.  Their roof was uninsulated metal and had little attic space.  Adding a cool, white roof coating dropped their interior temperatures 12-15 degrees F. on their upper floor and made all the difference in quality of life Why? Because they could work and sleep on the top floor as they normally did and the exorbitant electric bills they we getting dropped.

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So it is important to remember cooling can be felt and perceived differently. Depending upon location and how much cooling you want, you might need to consider a combined approach of more than one technology.  In extreme, sun exposed, hot environments, this is going to be mandatory. However, getting a true solar reflective coating with IR mmo pigments on your house or building first can be just the change your outside walls and/or roof require to drop those inside temperatures. 

Any cooling technology combo really will take the interior temperatures down so long as you also keep doors and windows closed during the hottest part of the day and opening them at night!

PLEASE SEE other POSTS here at Cool Reflective Coatings Info to understand some of the differences between solar reflective coatings and cooling paints.

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