As we work towards new standards for environmentally-friendly housing, one of the most exciting ideas on the table is that of the self-sustaining house, allowing a household to generate its own power without any need for fossil fuels. When it comes to living a eco-friendly lifestyle we’ve previously touched on sustainable gardening, residential battery storage and using smart technology to monitor power use. But have you ever considered using solar paint?
What is solar paint?
Solar paint is just that, a paint that conducts a renewable source of energy by using the very walls of the house as a collection agent. Developed by researchers at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, solar paint generates clean hydrogen fuel from sunlight and moisture in the air.
Solar paint consists of thin-film solar panels created in a liquid form. Not only is this material lightweight, but in a liquid form it can applied to any solid surface. Not only the exterior walls of your home, but solar paint can be applied to fences, sheds and any other surface you choose.
By applying a coat of solar paint to your house, it will soak up moisture from the atmosphere, morning dew, and rainfall around it like a silica gel packet. Alongside this, it’ll also absorb a solar energy, akin to solar panelling.
From there, it uses titanium oxide (an extremely refractive substance sometimes called ‘the perfect white’ which is already used in most paint) and a new compound called synthetic molybdenum-sulphide to split H2O back into hydrogen and oxygen. The separated hydrogen is then utilised for power cells.
One of the biggest advantages to this is that it combines and reinforces the effectiveness of solar panelling. While it’s effective just from water vapour even in the most arid climates, it isn’t hindered (and is in fact heightened) by overcast days and rain. The combination of both panels and paint theoretically means a foolproof off-the-grid alternative for a household looking to go green.
What are the benefits of solar paint?
The chief benefit of using solar paint lies in the opportunity of having a self-sustained home. With environmental impacts becoming a major factor for prospective homeowners when building a house, utilising solar paint provides an opportunity to power a home using natural resources rather than fossil fuels. This means you’ll be spending less money on electricity bills as well. But what about the cost of the actual pain? Though this technology sounds pricey, Dr. Torben Daeneke – a lead researcher from RMIT – believes solar paint will be inexpensive and widely available by 2022.
Secondly, a self-sustained power source for a home will be less susceptible to large scale power outages. Whether you’re committed to going off the grid or you’d like to be prepared for an emergency, using your own power source will pay off in dividends. Working in conjunction with other renewable energies like solar batteries, your household may one day be completely self-powered.
Thirdly, solar paint doesn’t stand out like solar panels, and blend seamlessly with the aesthetics of your home. As an existing part of the structure, solar paint is a non-intrusive option for generating clean, sustainable energy. This is good to keep in mind when considering the resale value of your home. When the time comes to sell your property, the last thing you’ll want are obtrusive or bulky technology attached to the side of the home. Solar paint can also be an attractive quality for a prospective buyer given its environmental, financial and aesthetic attributes.
A paint job that pays for itself
While we’re not entirely sustainable on our own premises yet, it’s nice to think that with a little bit of effort we can really start cutting down on fossil fuels. Solar paint is one of the most commercially viable, efficient, and exciting ways that this is becoming a reality.
Since the technology is not ready for mass production, Gemmill Homes does not offer solar paint with our homes at this time. In the meantime, take our quiz to find out what kind of home suits your personality!