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  • Writer's pictureEnergy Performance Solutions

A Discussion About Solar Thermal Barriers

Updated: Jan 3

There is a lot of discussion and articles about using different paints and coating products as thermal barriers to reduce the heat load on buildings and reduce cooling costs. Some have even gone so far as to suggest being able to get rid of cooling systems.

Blue sky with sun shining on a trio of office buildings featuring a lot of windows. They are three different heights and are exposed to the sun

To understand heat gain and manage heat gain from solar exposure, it is essential to know that heat gain from solar exposure comes from long-wave light, short-wave light, and IR. Long and short-wave light is the visible light we see and can be reduced with reflectivity on a coating or paint. This accounts for only 35% of the heat gain from solar exposure. IR light, which cannot be seen, accounts for 65% of heat gain on a surface and must be addressed by emissivity or rejection of heat.

Let’s explore the facts about thermal barrier technology and what does and does not work. First, any white paint product will reflect some heat gain from solar exposure, regardless of whether it is the cheapest department store paint or the most expensive industrial coating. The catch is that the paint must remain bright white to have much effect, maintain its reflectivity, and reduce heat gain on the surface. Many of the advertised thermal barrier products in the marketplace work only on this principle, and most will turn yellow or dull after a short period and must be reapplied. They have no emissivity value to reject IR heat gain.

ThermalBlock has been independently tested by UL labs with a result of .89 reflectivity and .88 emissivity, with 1 being the highest amount of heat rejection. It has also been tested by Intertek labs, the largest independent test labs in the world, at their solar test labs in Fresno, California. Intertek performed an SHGC test, a solar heat gain coefficient typically done on doors and windows. The test results were a 95% reduction of solar heat gain on a surface coated with ThermalBlock. This is much higher and better results than most energy-efficient windows and doors currently being sold.

The simple result of coating a surface with solar exposure with ThermalBlock is that the surface temperature is typically lowered by 40 to 50 F. This dramatically reduces the heat load on a surface and significantly reduces the cooling load on a building.

ThermalBlock has been thoroughly tested to UL, ISO, and ASTM standards and has passed all testing, unlike many advertised products that have had an internal study done by some universities.

ThermalBlock can and has been proven to reduce cooling loads by 30% or greater depending on climate and solar exposure.

Contact our team to learn more today.


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