An ingenious building coating system that repels heat from the sun in summer and keeps warm air inside during winter has been hailed as a new weapon in the fight against rising carbon emissions and climate change.
Roofs on the Caribbean island of Guadeloupe have been treated with BeckryTherm to repel solar heat and keep them cool.
Invented and developed by Lindéngruppen-owned Beckers Group, the BeckryTherm coating system has just won a top British award for sustainable innovation.
BeckryTherm's exterior coating is applied to metal surfaces such as roofs to create a solar reflective barrier which reduces the heat that a building gains from the sun.
An interior coating further helps to reduce heat build-up during hot weather by acting as a thermal energy barrier. Uniquely, the interior coating also works in reverse fashion in cooler months, keeping heat inside buildings by effectively acting like a mirror and reflecting it inwards.
Studies suggest BeckryTherm can save up to 25 percent of the power required to cool and heat buildings, reducing energy bills for consumers and offering a new technological tool in the battle to combat global warming.
In November 2013 BeckryTherm won the British Coatings Federation's annual Sustainable Innovation Award.
Lead judge Phil Gamlen, of Manchester Business School, said: "BeckryTherm has the potential to make a significant impact on energy usage in buildings all round the globe."
Easing pressure on natural resources
James Maxted, international development chemist at Beckers Group in the UK and head of the team that developed BeckryTherm, said almost 50 percent of all energy in Europe and the United States was used either to cool or heat the buildings in which we live and work.
"Global demand for air conditioning is predicted to rise by 10 percent by 2020, as a direct result of global warming," Maxted said.
"This places increased demands on our natural resources to generate the necessary energy needed, and this in turn ultimately contributes further to carbon dioxide emissions."
BeckryTherm is already in use in North America, the Caribbean, South Africa, southern Europe and some Asian countries including Malaysia.
Though most effective in hot climates, it has also been adopted in Finland and Sweden for its ability to keep buildings warm in winter by reducing temperature-related movement in steel surfaces. This makes buildings more air-tight and less prone to leak heat.
Reducing carbon footprint
Beckers Group stressed that electricity generation problems, national programmes to reduce carbon footprint, and the need to eradicate urban heat islands and smog demanded more intelligent use of all aspects of buildings – including coatings – to reduce environmental impact.
Group chief operating officer Karsten Eller said: "BeckryTherm is an excellent example of Beckers' efforts to deliver on our promise to be the most sustainable industrial coatings company."