Black and white roofs?

I’ve always thought this idea would be ideal for Canada’s climate, a roof that is: black in the winter, to attract and absorb the heat from the sun; and white in the summer, to reflect the sun’s heat and keep the house cool.

Well, it appears that the bright folks at MIT have come up with what might be a solution. A new material they call Thermeleon makes it all possible. This article explains it way better than I ever could:

“MIT’s Thermeleon material is a composite of layers that makes it thermochromic–on exposure to heat it changes color from black to white. It works by sandwiching a common polymer between flexible plastic layers, with a black one at the back–when cold the polymer solution stays dissolved and the black rear face shows through, and when it heats up the solution condenses to form light-scattering droplets.”

While it’s a long way off from being viable (financially) for application to your home, it does appear to be moving in that direction, as the scientists are working on it so that it is paintable or spray-on. When that day comes, it will be another survival tool for Canadian winters.

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