MAR 25, 2024 1:50 PM PDT

Cooling Down the Concrete Jungle: Real-World Study on Cool Paint Coatings' Impact

How can paint be used to combat climate change? This is what a recent study published in Sustainable Cities and Society hopes to address as a team of researchers from Singapore investigated real-world applications regarding how cool paint coatings that reflect the Sun’s heat could be attributed to enabling people to feel up to 34.7 degrees Fahrenheit (1.5 degrees Celsius) cooler compared to traditional city pavement. This study holds the potential to produce more comfortable city environments, especially with summer heats becoming warmer every year.

For the study, the researchers covered roads, walls, and roofs of an industrialized area of western Singapore consisting of almost 130,000 square feet (12,000 square meters) containing several multi-storied buildings. Over a 24-hour period, the researchers discovered that afternoon temperatures within the coated environment were up to 35.6 degrees Fahrenheit (2 degrees Celsius) cooler compared to non-coated surroundings. Additionally, the team used the Universal Thermal Climate Index to measure temperature comfort levels for locals walking through the area, discovering these individuals experienced up to 34.7 degrees Fahrenheit (1.5 degrees Celsius) cooler because of the cool paint coatings.

Image of roads with the cool paint coatings applied in the western Singapore test site. (Credit: NTU Singapore)

Image of a roof being painted with the cool paint coatings in the western Singapore test site. (Credit: NTU Singapore)

“Findings from the study are not just relevant for cities in Singapore where it is hot all year round, but for other urban areas around the world too,” said Dr. Wan Man Pun, who is an associate professor in the Nanyang Technological University, Singapore (NTU Singapore) School of Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering and a co-author on the study. “With global warming, people will increasingly look for ways to stay cool. Our study validates how cool paint coatings can be a strategy to reduce the urban heat island effect in future.” 

While this study focused on the cool paint coatings over a 24-hour period, the team aspires to expand this research for longer time periods to ascertain the cool paint’s longevity.

How will cool paint coatings help alleviate increasing climate temperatures in the coming years and decades? Only time will tell, and this is why we science!

As always, keep doing science & keep looking up!

Sources: Sustainable Cities and Society, EurekAlert!, Nanyang Technological University

About the Author
Master's (MA/MS/Other)
Laurence Tognetti is a six-year USAF Veteran who earned both a BSc and MSc from the School of Earth and Space Exploration at Arizona State University. Laurence is extremely passionate about outer space and science communication, and is the author of "Outer Solar System Moons: Your Personal 3D Journey".
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