The next time you hear a voice proclaiming “The roof is on fire,” it might not be your neighbors blasting the eponymous 1984 single written by Rock Master Scott & the Dynamic Three — it might actually be your smart roof talking to you.
Okay, so the in-development smart roof coating won’t actually alert you to your roof literally being on fire, but it can read a thermometer and automatically adjust itself based on those readings. Joining the growing ranks of smarty-pants technology such as meters, grids, and appliances, the roof’s functionality is due to the roof’s coating, which consists of waste cooking oil from fast food restaurants. “Roofs coated with the material would reflect scorching summer sunlight and reduce sticker-shock air-conditioning bills,” explains the American Chemical Society. ” When chilly weather sets in, the coating would change roles and transmit heat to help warm the interior.”
Ben Wen, Ph.D., leader of the research project behind these smart roofs, states that the motivation for the roof coating’s development came from the inconvenience that comes from choosing either light roofing, which reduces cooling costs during summertime but raises heating costs during the winter; or dark roofing, which absorbs sunlight to lower winter heating costs but alternatively raises cooling costs in the summer. Wen believes further testing could see the coating available commercially in approximately three years.
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