The Coolest New Paint: Purdue University’s ‘whitest white’ makes positive environmental impact

For over thirty thousand years, paints have been used for artistic reasons. In the middle ages buildings were painted to display the purpose of the structure. Now, researchers have found that paint can have environment-friendly uses in order to help combat climate change.

Over time, improved paints were developed, some reflecting as much as 90 percent of the sun’s light. Now, scientists have developed an even more effective paint.

Developed by Purdue University, this ‘whitest white’ paint reflects up to 98.1% of all sunlight that hits it. This significantly lowers the temperature of the surface compared to asphalt, and colored paint each reflecting 5% and 10%-30% of sunlight respectively.

The application of this paint can leave surfaces up to 19 degrees cooler than their immediate surroundings.

While this miracle paint is more expensive than its predecessors, its dramatic cooling effect quickly makes it worth the price by reducing the need for AC. In the San Fernando Valley, hundreds of buildings have already been repainted. In places such as Phoenix, Arizona, streets are being covered with similar materials in an attempt to combat the urban heat island effect.

One such street in Winnetka, California has had a couple of roads through the neighborhood painted with this reflective paint. The painting of the roads is part of the Cooling Street LA project, in conjunction with adding more tree coverage over streets, dramatically helps to reduce the temperature.

In the long run and on a very large scale, this paint has the potential to drastically reduce energy usage and CO2 emissions, saving money and most importantly the environment.

40% of humanity’s carbon footprint comes from buildings, much of which is simply used for thermoregulation; much of this may soon be rendered null with a simple coat of paint.

Though a large issue that can come with some of the paint taking rare minerals or taking more carbon emissions than it could potentially reduce.

A student from Golden Valley, Gabriel Ejinduaka, expressed that “The importance of saving the environment is not right now but how it’s going to affect future children.”

Darren La Rue is a teacher of Golden Valleys Graphics Arts and Introduction to Programming, who helps the environment by diving and cleaning up the sea around the coasts with the Dive for Debris. Darren explains that ”It is a human responsibility to keep the environment clean, as it is not just for us but for our children’s children- so it is our duty and responsibility.”

As well as the paint has problems contrasting with road features and standardization used on American roads. As it has problems with making lane dividers and other road features visible on a white background.

If this were to change by making the material more environmentally friendly, and cheaper or changing the rules of the road then it would be more useful across the US.