A team of recent MIT graduates has developed a simple-yet-ingenious roofing material (known as Thermeleon) that could revolutionize the energy efficiency of homes by changing color in different temperatures.
The Thermeleon color changing roof tiles are designed to be dark-colored at low temperatures (when absorbing the sun’s rays would help warm a home), performing like traditional black asphalt shingles. But when temps rise and the tiles turn white, they really start to shine (no pun intended). By reflecting more solar energy in hot weather, they reduce thermal gain and lessen the energy needed to keep the the home cool.
The designers began with a glass and plastic “sandwich” containing a clear polymer over a dark backing layer. At low temperatures, the polymer is clear and the dark background within the tile is displayed. As the ambient heat climbs past a certain level, the polymer condenses into reflective white droplets.
The Thermeleon tiles aren’t available on the market yet, as they still need to undergo further testing to ensure durability and commercial potential. But this is one green roof technology we’ll be keeping a close eye on.