The use of air conditioning (AC) for residential and commercial use is increasingly common, especially in the world’s hotter regions, putting enormous strain on electricity. According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), cooling is the fastest growing use of energy in buildings, with the global demand expected to triple by 2050, presenting significant challenges for energy sustainability, accessibility and affordability. 

Architects, builders and urban planners seek eco-friendly solutions that address the escalating demand for cooling while mitigating the environmental impact of traditional approaches. Innovative technologies like near infrared (NIR) reflective pigments and dispersions, or “cool colors,” are increasingly utilized in building and construction design to significantly reduce the amount of heat absorbed by structures, lessening the reliance on AC systems. 

Sustainable solutions for urban living 

By mitigating the absorption of solar radiation in comparison with other pigments in same color space, these colors reduce the impact of the urban heat island effect, a phenomenon where urban areas experience higher temperatures than surrounding rural areas. The vast expanses of concrete, asphalt and other heat-absorbing dark surfaces prevalent in cities primarily cause this effect. This excess heat can lead to various issues, including increased energy consumption for cooling, elevated air pollution levels and discomfort for residents.  

Incorporating cool colors into building exteriors and urban infrastructure can help create a more comfortable and healthier urban environment for residents. Additionally, cooler surfaces can help lower AC demands, decreasing greenhouse gas emissions associated with energy production. As cities grapple with rising temperatures and the challenges of climate change, integrating cool colors into urban landscapes is a simple yet impactful strategy to enhance sustainability and resilience. 

Achieve cooler temperatures without compromising aesthetics or performance 

Beyond energy efficiency, cool colors also improve the durability of exterior coatings in buildings, roofs, pavement and cement. Enhanced protection against thermal stress ensures building and construction materials maintain their aesthetic appeal for over time, reducing the need for frequent maintenance. This translates into cost savings and a longer life span for building exteriors and materials, aligning with the growing demand for sustainable building practices. 

At the core of cool colors are NIR pigments and dispersions designed to reflect a higher percentage of sunlight compared to traditional coatings. This innovative approach to color science maximizes energy efficiency and empowers architects and designers with a wide range of design possibilities. 

Enhance energy efficiency with Vibrantz’s cool colors 

Vibrantz is a leading supplier of “cool colors” –– NIR reflective pigments and dispersions designed to help lower heat absorption of building exteriors to improve energy efficiency​. Our cool colors are proven to: 

  • Improve building efficiency by up to 20% 
  • Reduce AC consumption, lowering energy bill costs 
  • Increase the durability of exterior materials 

In addition to exteriors, our cool colors are commonly used in coatings for roofs, walls, asphalt and cement materials. As primary contact points with sunlight and heat, these materials are critical for implementing energy-efficient solutions in urban environments with hotter climates. 

Our team of color scientists offers technical support through formulation development, testing capabilities and customized energy savings estimation tools. 

A multifaceted solution for a sustainable future 

Cool colors cater to a more environmentally responsible building and construction industry and ushers in a future when energy-efficient buildings become the norm. The adoption of cool colors not only addresses the challenges posed by the increasing demand for cooling systems but also paves the way for a more sustainable future. Contact us to learn more about the impact cool colors can have on sustainable building practices.  

Patricia Perez

Product Manager, Color Solutions

Patricia Perez

Product Manager, Color Solutions

Patricia Pérez has over 26 years of technical and product management experience in pigments. She started her career at Colores Hispania (later acquired by Nubiola) as a pigment application technician in plastics and coatings. After gaining experience in paint technology, she served as the corrosion inhibitor product manager at Ferro (later acquired by Vibrantz) and has been a product manager at Vibrantz since 2023. She has a bachelor’s degree in chemistry and a master’s degree in paint technology from the University of Barcelona.