A team of graduates from an American university has developed a roof tile which changes colour as the temperature changes, enabling it to reflect sunlight in hot conditions and absorb it in cooler temperatures.
In warm temperatures the tiles appear white and, the researchers claim, reflect 80% of sunlight landing on them. In summer months this would keep a building cooler and ease pressure on air conditioning systems.
When it is cold the tiles turn black, and reflect only 30% of sunlight, keeping the building better insulated and reducing the amount of energy required for heating.
The team, which recently won a prize for their innovation, known as the ‘thermeleon’, is currently working on toughening the tile to make it more resistant to severe weather conditions, whilst also looking at integrating the colour changing technology into a paint form which could be produced at lower cost and be easier to use.
Environmentally friendly innovations which are based on such basic physical and thermal processes are those seemingly most likely to have a significant impact on construction designs of the future.
Posted under Environmental Technologies and Renewable Energy, Construction and Environmental Technologies on 16 October 2009