Roof cooling researchers win World Technology Network Environment Award
Emeritus Professor Geoff Smith accepting the 2015 World Technology Network Environment Award for roof cooling technology.
Their work on roofing technology looks how changing the coating on roofs can reduce the need for air conditioning in the summer and reduce temperatures in urban environments.
“When it sits in the sun, because it reflects so well, it can sit below ambient temperature,” Dr Gentle said.
“The idea of cool roofs isn’t particularly new, it’s more about looking at how far you can push a cool roof so you minimise how much heat is being generated locally.”
Dr Gentle says the work addresses the phenomenon of urban heat island (UHI), where an urban area is hotter than its surrounding areas rural environments because of the level of human activity.
“If you have surfaces which reflect significantly you can passively cool local areas and make the environment much nicer to be in.”
The purpose of the research is to set the benchmark for how reflective white paints could be, and to maximise how much cooling can be achieved.
“One of the areas we are working towards is looking at white paints and getting them as white as possible. A lot of white paints you see can only reflect 60% to 70% of sunlight, but still look white.”
“The surface we made was 97% solar reflecting. We want to push the white paints as close to that as possible.”
Professor Smith and Dr Gentle say it is incredibly exciting to see the impact of their research at UTS being recognised on the international stage.
“When our names came up on the big screen as winner I found it hard to believe,” Professor Smith said.
“It reflects well on the quality of UTS research to be identified as world-leading by the WTN,” Dr Gentle said.
The awards are presented by the World Technology Network (opens an external site), who are a global body of leading scientists, researchers and entrepreneurs.