Coolest White: A Painting to Reduce the Urban Heat Islands

Cortesia de UNStudio and Monopol Colors Cortesia de UNStudio and Monopol Colors

The increasing use of air conditioning is causing many cities to hit record energy consumption levels during brutally hot summer months. In populous countries like India, China, Indonesia, Brazil, and Mexico, large urban centers function like ovens: buildings absorb heat that is re-released back into the environment, further increasing the local temperature. More heat outside means more air conditioning inside, which not only raises energy consumption, but also increases the levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

With this vicious cycle in mind, a paint was created to protect buildings and urban structures from excessive solar radiation, diminishing the effect of the urban heat island. The innovation came from the partnership of UNStudio, a Dutch architectural firm, and Monopol Color, a Swiss paint specialist. The dark-colored materials that are used to construct the buildings in our cities are one of the main causes of heat accumulation in urban areas. While darker materials absorb up to 95% of the sun’s rays and release them straight back into the atmosphere, this value can be reduced to 25% with a normal white surface. Now, with ‘The Coolest White’, it is possible to reduce absorption and emission to 12%.

Read more »