A Study of the Thermal Performance of Reflective Coatings for the Urban Environment

This paper presents the results of a comparative study aiming to investigate the effect of reflective coatings on lowering surface temperatures of buildings and other surfaces of the urban environment, and thus test their suitability to lower ambient temperatures and fight the heat island effect. In total, 14 types of reflective coatings, selected from the international market were studied, from August to October 2004, on a 24 h basis. These coatings are used in buildings and some of them are used or could be used in the future in other surfaces of the urban environment (sidewalks, parking lots, etc.). In order to investigate the thermal performance of the reflective coatings, surface temperature sensors and a data logging system as well as infrared thermography procedures were used. The spectral reflectance and the infrared emittance of the samples were also measured. The collected data have been extensively analyzed. It was demonstrated that the use of reflective coatings can reduce a white concrete tile’s surface temperature under hot summer conditions by 4 °C and during the night by 2 °C. It can be warmer, than the ambient air by only 2 °C during the day and cooler than the ambient air by 5.9 °C during the night. “Cool” coatings present superior thermal performance even compared to other “cool” materials. This study can assist in choosing more appropriate coatings for building envelopes and other surfaces of the urban environment, and thus contribute to the mitigation of the heat island effect as well as the reduction of cooling loads and electricity consumption of buildings.

Suggested citation or credit:

Synnefa A, Santamouris M and Livada I. (2006) A study of the thermal performance of reflective coatings for the urban environment.  Sol. Energy 80 968–82.

Source: Solar Energy

Publication Date: August 2006

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