Monday, January 31, 2011
Save Energy with Paint
The weather in Sydney right now may be perfect, but the hot summer is scarcely past and the colder autumn and winter are on their way.You may be surprised to learn that one of the most promising ideas for reducing energy use is -- paint.
One of the newest ideas is solar paint, paint which has suspended in tiny solar cell particles. These solar paints could supply electricity for homes and businesses. You won't find them down at the local shops yet, though. Scientists in New South Wales have figured out how to make solar cells soluble and how to suspend the particles in liquids. They plan to use them like ink to print solar cells onto plastic and thus make much more flexible solar panels.
Painting the tiny solar cells directly onto a roof is possible, but no one has yet come up with a way to get the electricity from the roof into the building, or with a way to protect the coating from weather, so solar paint shouldn't be on your shopping list for the coming winter.
There are currently ceramic coatings which insulate buildings when they're painted onto roofs. Radiant paints which reflect sun help keep buildings cool in the hot weather. Both of these options can make a difference in heating and cooling bills.
Even the colour you choose can affect your energy use. Light colours on roofs keep buildings cooler and dark colours keep them warmer. Inside the home, using light colours makes a room seem brighter, and people will feel more comfortable leaving lights off then they will in a dark-painted room. A warm, cozy colour can make you feel warmer and a light, bright colour can make you feel cooler.