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MIT Innovation: Energy Efficient White Roofs That Turn Black in Winter.

So called “white roofs” have been much lauded recently for their ability to reflect sunlight in hot climates – not only reducing cooling costs, but increasing comfort for residents. (Having worked on a roof in 100-degree-plus weather, I can vouch that white roofs would increase the comfort of roofers, as well.)  The only problem with a regular white roof is that in cool or temperate climates, the savings to be gained in the summer would be offset by increased heating costs in the winter – when heat absorbed by a dark roof is a good thing.  
 
As CleanTechnica reports, the cleverly named “Thermeleon” roof tiles invented by MADMEC’s winners could potentially jump this hurdle.  In cool weather the tiles appear black, reflecting only 30% of the solar hit that hits them.  As the temperature rises, the polymer responsible for the tile’s dark appearance clumps into droplets, which scatter around the tile – causing the tile to turn white, and consequently reflect 80% of the solar heat that hits it.  So the color changing roof tiles help you stay warm in the winter and cool in the summer.  Brilliant.   
 
Though the roof tiles have yet to be tested for durability, the concept is promising.  The team is reportedly planning on creating an energy efficient color changing paint, which would yield the same benefits as the roof tiles at a fraction of the installation cost. 
 
Cheers to these guys, and we’ll look forward to seeing where they go next. 

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