Government Technology

Bright Ideas: Color-Changing Roof Tiles and Solar-Panel Highways




Botswana sunset.

October 9, 2009 By

Black roofs absorb solar radiation, increasing summer cooling costs and power usage. White roofs would reflect more solar energy, lower summer cooling costs and perhaps reduce global warming if broadly adopted. But in the winter, solar energy -- absorbed by a black roof -- could augment winter heating and lower costs, especially in colder climates. A team of MIT students has come up with a new idea in roofing, called Thermeleon -- after the color-changing chameleon -- that turns white when hot, and black when cold. The tiles use a common polymer that reacts to temperature.

Another solar idea, according to a recent article in Scientific American, is to transform America's black-asphalt highways into solar panels. Solar Roadways received a small grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation to research materials. Needless to say, the engineering challenges are significant.

Americans strongly support solar energy development and use, according to a survey by the SCHOTT Solar Barometer. The survey indicated 89 percent of Republicans, 94 percent of Democrats and 93 percent of Independents agreed that it is important for the U.S. to develop and use solar power.

For more information on solar and other types of renewable energy, visit the Department of Energy's new Energy Explained Site.

Photo: Jean-Jacques Milan  Creative Commons Attribution 2.0


| More

Comments

Add Your Comment

You are solely responsible for the content of your comments. We reserve the right to remove comments that are considered profane, vulgar, obscene, factually inaccurate, off-topic, or considered a personal attack.

In Our Library

White Papers | Exclusives Reports | Webinar Archives | Best Practices and Case Studies
Improving Emergency Response with Digital Communications
Saginaw County, Mich., increases interoperability, communication and collaboration with a digital voice and data network, as well as modern computer-aided dispatch.
Reduce Talk Time in Your Support Center by 40%
As the amount of information available to citizens and employees grows each year, so do customer expectations for efficient service. Contextual Knowledge makes information easy to find, dropping resolution times and skyrocketing satisfaction.
Emerging Technology Adoption in Local Government
In a recent survey conducted by Government Technology, 125 local government leaders shared their challenges, benefits and priorities when adopting emerging technologies such as cloud, mobility and IP. Read how your jurisdiction’s adoption of technology compares to your peers.
View All

Featured Papers