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ECOS 119.

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N A T I O N A L Y E A R O F T H E B U I LT E N V I R O N M E N T – 2 0 0 4

P r o g r e s s

SkyCool – extraordinary paint on a hot tin roof

An invention by Conrad thermal emittance results in a

Ted Lehmann, Lehmann Pacific Solar Pty Ltd

Wojtysiak, an industrial lot of heat being lost by radia-
chemist with a passion for tion from the roof.
paint and solving problems, This unique combination of
has led to a new roof coating properties has, until now,
that almost defies the proved elusive because coatings
conventional laws of physics. with high thermal emittance are
SkyCoolTM provides a profound
cooling effect that can halve the
running costs of mechanical
air-conditioning in buildings
with metal roofs.
Rex Lehmann, of Lehmann
Pacific Solar Pty Ltd, who has
taken the roof coating from
clever invention to commercial
product, says it is a water-based,
non-toxic, acrylic polymer usually black or dark coloured.
matrix that eliminates the solar SkyCool, however, has a split
heat entering through roofs. personality. Unusually, it is
Results of tests conducted by ‘white’ at solar wavelengths
Professor Geoff Smith, of the (low solar absorbance) and
University of Technology, ‘black’ at thermal wavelengths
Sydney, and Professor John Bell, (high radiative capacity).
of the Queensland University of The coating acts as a ‘passive
Technology, show that the coat- heat pump’, cooling the roof
ing eliminates heat gains and taking the building’s inte-
through roofs due to an rior to below ambient tempera- SkyCool is white at solar wavelengths and reflects direct heat, but has
unusual combination of two ture – just by being there. This cooling efficiency through working internally as a heat pump.
properties. The coating has radiative cooling occurs both
both high solar reflectance day and night, provided the sky Queensland, one with the roof turn increasing the already large
(85%) and high thermal emit- is clear. coating and one without, the greenhouse gas emissions
tance (more than 94%). The When the university building with the coating generated by cooling of build-
high solar reflectance means researchers put the coating showed a annual saving in ings,’ says Professor Bell.
that only a small fraction of through its paces, it performed power consumption for air- Notably, energy savings by
incoming solar energy is remarkably well. In a 12-month conditioning of just over 40%. the ‘coated’ supermarket under
converted to heat by the roof, trial involving two similar Over the hot summer months, study are equivalent to 162
the rest being reflected. High supermarkets in southern SkyCool reduced air-condition- tonnes of greenhouse gases a
ing operating costs by more year. This would suggest that a
Ted Lehmann, Lehmann Pacific Solar Pty Ltd

than 50% (see graph). SkyCool coating, with its

The difference in seasonal unusual thermal properties, has
efficiency shows that although a novel and perhaps integral
the coating reduces cooling part to play in improving the
costs, its properties can increase sustainability of new and exist-
heating costs in cold weather. ing metal-roofed buildings.
However, Australian SkyCool has been on the
Greenhouse Office data show Australian Market since July
that cooling costs for commer- 2003 and distribution licences
cial buildings are double the for both Australia and overseas
heating costs – 28% of total markets are currently being
building energy use, as against negotiated.
13% for heating.
‘A key issue in achieving
• Steve Davidson

SkyCool applied on a roof (blue line) has been returning a 40% sustainability in the built envi-
ronment is reducing the rapidly Contact: Lehmann Pacific Solar,
reduction in air-conditioning power consumption for over (02) 9477 4095,
12 months, when compared to a standard building without the growing demand for air-condi-
coating (red line). tioning of buildings, which is in

12 ECOS 119 | APR– JUN | 2004