The coating for building envelopes is applied with standard paint application equipment, and is fairly invisible over most surfaces, except glass. Over factory windows or skylights, the coating will give a slightly frosted look, and allow through visible light while reducing heat conduction and UV penetration. Reduction of thermal transmission as tested to ISO 8990:1999 “Standard Test Method for Steady-State Thermal Performance of Building Assemblies” over 8 cm cement wall sections with plaster on both sides, was 34.8% at a standard three-coat coverage, which is approximately 6-7 mils dry film thickness. Product cost is 53 cents per square foot.

Heat Gain Reduced at Government Data Center

The U.S.-made technology has been adopted rapidly by other countries, which tend to adopt new technologies more quickly than their U.S. corporate counterparts. Nanocoating has been used as a sustainable solution in the Suvarnabhumi International Airport in Bangkok, Thailand, and in Mexico, the government Heath and Social Security Administration (IMSS) used it in 2009 on the roof of its Cenati location in Monterrey.

This location houses the data servers that hold the electronic patient health records that are interchanged between clinics and hospitals. The insulation solved an issue with the servers shutting down due to overheating in the summer months. After applying the coating and comparing year-over-year internal ambient temperature measurements, they confirmed reduction of the interior temperature by 27%. The issue with server shutdown was resolved.

Planning a Nanocoating Implementation

The first step is to assess where the most heat loss is occurring in the building envelope - walls, roof, windows, walls between heated and cooled areas, etc. Windows tend to be the largest “hole” in a thermal building envelope, depending upon design, so if a building has a large amount of the envelope coverage area as windows, this may be the first place to turn your attention.

A benefit of a paint-on application is the flexibility to apply thermal coatings over an entire building envelope at once, or divide the application into zones to be applied over time, either by your maintenance crew or painting contractor, focusing on the highest energy-saving potential first. This allows companies the flexibility of fitting an energy-efficiency retrofit of their building into their budgets and using energy savings from initial installations to pay for subsequent installations to other areas of the building or other facilities.

When estimating ROI, the nanocoating manufacturer recommends using the range of reported energy savings of 20% to 40% and estimating reduction of energy used for heating and cooling in three scenarios for an overall picture: low (20% savings), medium (30% savings), and high (40% savings). This type of calculation will allow an estimate of ROI based upon best- and worst-case scenarios.

When looking at the benefits of increasing energy efficiency, you may be able to factor in other benefits that may provide additional cost savings, such as increased comfort levels for personnel and life of heat-sensitive electronics; extended life of property due to UV, corrosion and moisture resistance; savings from cleaner, mold-resistant exterior surfaces; and improved health of the building by using a thin-film insulation that doesn’t harbor moisture, mold, mildew and vermin.

As with any efficiency upgrade, do your homework and take a look at current costs and potential savings. Using new nanotechnology-based solutions to reduce building operational costs can put you on the leading edge of sustainability and offer an advantage over competitors who may not be as tech-savvy about the new range of nanocoatings and their benefits.


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