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Cool White Polymer Coatings based on Glass Bubbles for Buildings


While most selective emitter materials are inadequate or inappropriate for building applications, here we present a techno-economically viable optical coating by integrating glass bubbles within a polymer film. A controlled glass bubble volume concentration from 0 to 70% leads to a selective solar reflectivity increase from 0.06 to 0.92 while the mid-infrared emissivity remains above 0.85. Outdoor measurements show the polymer coating on a concrete surface can provide a temperature reduction up to 25 °C during the day when conduction and convection are limited and a net cooling power greater than 78 W/m2 at a cost less than $0.005/W. The impact of polymer coating on common buildings is estimated as potential annual energy savings of 2-12 MJ/m2 and CO2 emission savings of 0.3-1.5 kg/m2. More savings are expected for higher surface-area-to-volume-ratio buildings, and the polymer coating is also expected to resolve cooling issues for old buildings with no air conditioning.

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