Potential Energy Saving Benefits and Limitations of Radiative Cooling Coatings for U.S. Residential Buildings

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12 Scopus Citations


Radiative coatings are a promising strategy to implement passive cooling that provides an eco-friendly pathway to achieve energy efficiency in buildings. This study investigates the benefits and limitations of implementing radiative coatings on the building envelope, particularly the roof, of residential buildings in the United States. The analysis compares the performance of an ideal radiative coating with broadband surface properties to a realistic radiative coating with diffuse and semitransparent properties. To enhance the net energy efficiency of buildings, we carried out a comprehensive parametric analysis comprising key radiation surface properties to maximize cooling energy savings while minimizing heating energy penalties. A countrywide assessment for 68 locations across the United States showed that net energy savings are a strong function of the climatic and atmospheric conditions. Broadly, southern locations showed high overall energy savings whereas northern locations exhibited high overall energy penalties. Locations in International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) climate zones 1A, 2A, and 2B showed a net annual energy savings above 5%, whereas locations in IECC climate zones 5B, 6B, and 7 showed a net annual energy penalty greater than 3%. The hot and dry climate of Phoenix, Arizona, showed the highest overall energy savings of 426 kWh (6.2%). Additionally, the mathematical correlation reveals that the net energy savings of a location is positive only when its average cooling degree days is greater than 5.5 or its average heating degree days is less than 10.

Original languageAmerican English
Article numberArticle No. 134763
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Cleaner Production
Issue numberPart 2
StatePublished - 15 Dec 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-5500-81778


  • Buildings
  • Cool roof
  • Energy savings
  • Radiative cooling
  • Roof coating


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