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An energy-efficient approach to paints

Experts feel that solar reflectance and insulation can contribute to make buildings energy-efficient

| | Sep 18, 2016 | 6:50 pm
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Dubai, UAE: As people in the Middle East region spend long hours in closed indoor spaces, there has been a rising health concern over the effect of paints on its occupants. Additionally, the government is also developing stringent regulations that paint manufacturers have to abide by. The stress is on indoor air quality (IAQ), and manufacturers are developing innovative methods to produce paints with low-volatile organic compounds (VOC) and anti-microbial properties to prevent the growth of moulds.

At the same time, there is also discussion on how paints can be used to meet energy-efficiency requirements. AK Paranthaman, Marketing Manager at Berger Paints says that paint manufacturers are now considering including solar reflectance for exterior paints. However, he is quick to add that awareness among consultants and other industry players of solar reflectance index (SRI) and its implications is still not as widespread as awareness of IAQ-related issues.

Martin Rosocha, General Manager at Caparol Paints, meanwhile, has a different point of view when he says: “Energy efficiency has long been an issue in Europe, and now I see it becoming more important here. In the last few months, especially in Dubai, a lot of conferences and seminars on energy efficiency have been held. You have Dubai Municipality involved, as well as the [Emirates] Green Building Council and a host of other organisations. For our part, as a company, we look at the issue of energy saving from two perspectives: solar reflectance and insulation. With solar reflectance, you have solar energy reflected by the facade, which means the amount of heat that gets into the building is reduced.”

However, he says that while certain pigments can be included to reflect more sunlight, energy-savings would be minimal. Explaining why he feels insulation is more important than solar reflectance, Rosocha says: “Yes, solar reflectance can give you energy savings, which you can measure, but it won’t be much. We’ve worked on roof coatings, for instance, where you can have solar-reflecting properties – and I know that it [SRI] gets used in marketing a lot – and while it can help, it won’t really keep the heat out. What you need is thermal insulation. Of course, the best and ideal solution is to have both.”

 


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