Innovation That Matters

| Photo source Pirta

A new paint that passively cools buildings

Property & Construction

A father and son developed the cooling paint during the Covid-19 lockdown

Spotted: As global temperatures rise, so does the demand for air conditioning (AC). And, ironically, as we cool buildings with AC, we’re further contributing to global warming, with cooling technologies producing almost four per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions. To reduce our reliance on energy and emissions-intensive AC systems, one father and son – Howard and Robert Atkin – have developed an innovative cooling white paint from their home garage in Yorkshire. 

With the University of Leeds, the pair validated their formula by testing over 800 samples over the course of two years. The results revealed that the paint had a high ability to release heat, reducing surface temperature by up to 64 degrees Celsius compared to black materials. The tests also demonstrated that the formula could reflect up to 99.82 per cent of rays across the visible and ultraviolet (UV) light spectrums. Because of its reflectivity and ability to release heat, the formula was proven as an effective tool to passively cool surfaces.  

With the support of the US-based Venture Accelerator firm Apater Labs, the duo launched Pirta, an enterprise headquartered in Harrogate, to package the paint formulas. The goal is to help industries from construction to shipping and logistics reduce their reliance on energy-intensive cooling systems.  

Not only would the paint be a more energy-efficient way of cooling buildings, but it is also more cost-effective, as it eliminates any of the operational or energy costs of an AC unit. Pirta CEO Scott Fleming explains: “unfortunately, the most impoverished places on our planet also happen to be the hottest. This presents a significant challenge for those striving to improve their quality of life (…) Our efforts go beyond simply reducing emissions and cooling buildings; we strive to elevate humanity and make a positive impact on millions of people’s lives.” 

In the archive, Springwise has spotted many innovations finding clever ways to reduce energy consumption without sacrificing comfort. One company has created technology to recover heat energy from a warm shower, while a smart cooking technology cuts energy consumption in the kitchen.

Written By: Anam Alam



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