Fast Company's Ben Schiller takes a look at an innovative building coating that's in the works by Stanford University researcher Aaswath Raman. The ultra-reflective material works with passive cooling technology in the daytime to bounce heat into the atmosphere and reduce the need for excessive air conditioning.
Composed of seven layers of silicon dioxide and hafnium oxide plus a layer of silver, the material will be capable of sending infrared heat in a frequency that travels beyond our atmosphere, and deters buildings from heating up by reflecting 97% of sunlight.
They haven't finalized how to use the coating yet. It could be sprayed across a rooftop. Or, more likely, it could cover tubes of water taking heat away from building cooling systems. "We can cool water below air temperature without having to evaporate it, and only needing electricity to pump water through panels," Raman says. "You can think of this as a solar water heater, except instead of warming the water, it's doing the opposite. It's cooling the water."