MIT Invents Color Changing Roof Tiles

A recent breakthrough at MIT could save homeowners a significant amount of money on their yearly energy bills. The heart of this discovery is a new roofing tile that changes color based on ambient temperature. The tiles turn white (reflecting the heat) when it is hot outside and turn black (absorbing the heat) when it is cold. The tiles have been shown to reflect up to 80% of the sunlight when white and 30% when they are black.MIT Color Changing Roof Tile

The team who invented these tiles is appropriately named Thermeleon (like Chameleon). Thermeleon took first place and a prize of $5000 in the MIT competition Making and Designing Materials Engineering Contest (MADMEC).

Nick, a member of the team explains the technology:

“…they use a common commercial polymer (in one version, one that is commonly used in hair gels) in a water solution. That solution is encapsulated – between layers of glass and plastic in their original prototype, and between flexible plastic layers in their latest version – with a dark layer at the back.

When the temperature is below a certain level (which they can choose by varying the exact formulation), the polymer stays dissolved, and the black backing shows through, absorbing the sun’s heat. But when the temperature climbs, the polymer condenses to form tiny droplets, whose small sizes scatter light and thus produce a white surface, reflecting the sun’s heat.”

These new-age materials will prove to help consumers drive down their energy costs as well as slow the rate of global warming. While these technologies are very interesting, they are a few years out to being commercial developed. Luckily for us, roof material manufacturers are already producing energy saving shingles. Moonworks sells several roofing materials with reflective granules like our Solaris and Cool Roofing Shingles. These products don’t only save you money on your yearly energy bill, but also qualify you for up to a $1500 tax credit because they are Energy Star rated.


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