The colourful weirdness of our urban future - or maybe not so much?
Wow it’s amazing you can lower energy costs 30 percent with something as stupid as painting the roof a different color.
What is also stupid is how I wear all black every day 365 days a year even though NYC summers are total swamp zone. But I FEEL cool so that’s what matters right?
Phew, thank god we can cool the buildings while keeping them the same color. I wouldn’t trust a white McDonalds, even if it meant their ice cream machine might actually be working for once
Super cool, and indeed: amazing. I love to remind myself that color is unique to humans, at least insofar as the way we see them. Light is light, but different wavelengths appear different to our dumb eyes. I love the nitty-gritty of urban planning with relation to color!
So (if I'm following, which is debatable. More coffee?), blinding white is the most effective color for reflecting heat, but multicolored buildings also help with this? It makes me think about public mural art and whether or not encouraging colorful murals on every building would actually help with energy efficiency?
This is a somewhat selfish question, as I am on the board of our local social justice mural project and we are always looking for ways to convince building owners to host the work. Also, it makes me feel weirdly proud of my very ridiculous lavender and purple house with a big mural on the side (it's not garish! It's energy efficient!).
Thank you for the shoutout. What a lovely surprise on opening the newsletter this evening.
Mike, this was great. Thank you. I also really appreciated the links and am excited to learn more about the blue morpho and bird buildings.
Fascinating as always. Maybe this is a stupid question, but what happens to all that heat that's being reflected and allowing the building to stay cool. Wouldn't it build up in the air making it hotter? (This is probably the down side of writing science to those of us who can barely spell it.)
There's a part of the book "Three Body Problem" (or one of the sequels can't remember) where carbon nanotubes are used as weapons to terrifying effect. Don't want to spoil it but it's frighteningly plausible-sounding. Not that I'm a physicist or anything.
Very cool writing, I'm a new fan - I love how you make it accessible with relatable descriptions of the white buildings of Greece (even though I've only ever seen said buildings digitallly), but also you weave in the profoundness of Michio Kaku and some thought-provoking ideas around exploiting natural mimicry and material science for the benefit of society and the environment. Also, it's nice that you're a fellow Brit, but most of all that you seem to display a sort of skeptical optimism; you're willing to question what's around you, but still remain - on the whole - positive, I think that's what science is all about really ... big love from an ex-science student from Manchester, UK 👍❤
Protecting from fire with a reflective foil: I didn't know about buildings, but the method works for giant sequoias: