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New Attention to Cool Wall Technology with the Rise of Energy Costs

With crude oil prices at record levels, the effects at the gas pump are already well known. But as summer temperatures arrive, rising energy costs will begin to manifest themselves in a new way: the cost of air conditioning.

Fortunately, promising new technologies are now available to help homeowners hold down air conditioning costs without sacrificing comfort. Among the most promising are new "cool wall" coatings, which have been shown to reduce air-conditioning demand by nearly 22 percent, according to tests by the U.S. Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

"The tests show that COOL WALL™ coatings can significantly reduce a typical home's air-conditioning costs by actually keeping the home's interior cooler through the reflection of heat from the home's exterior," said Jay Haines, president and chief executive officer of Textured Coatings of America Inc. His company's TEX•COTE® SUPER•COTE™ COOL WALL™ exterior coatings were the subject of a nearly two-long series of DOE tests.

The tests found that the COOL WALL™ exterior coating's revolutionary heat reflective finish significantly reduced exterior wall temperatures -- by as much as 40 degrees Fahrenheit when compared to traditional paints and coatings. More important, the tests showed the Cool Wall coating also lowered interior temperatures in both CBS and wood-frame homes, Haines said.

"Obviously, the savings vary depending on the home's location, as well as its construction type, its orientation to the sun, surrounding shade features and so forth," said Haines. "But the DOE tests confirmed a measurable and significant difference in the energy required to cool the home in all instances."

The most extensive DOE tests were conducted at the Oak Ridge test site in Tennessee, with additional tests conducted at actual homes in Jacksonville, Fla., and Phoenix, Ariz. The tests demonstrated that the COOL WALL™ coating could lower the costs of cooling a typical 1,100-square-foot ranch-style home by as much as 21.9 percent, Haines noted.

"As energy prices continue to rise, those air-conditioning costs are certain to rise as well, and the savings will become even more pronounced," he added.

Haines explained that TEX•COTE® SUPER•COTE™ COOL WALL™ exterior coatings take advantage of the same heat reflective technology used by the military to reduce the heat signature of planes and other vehicles. Since the increase in reflectivity occurs primarily in the infrared spectrum, it is invisible to the naked eye. Yet although the COOL WALL™ colors may look the same as a traditional finish, they are, on average, approximately 100 percent more reflective than the conventional technologies.

"A dark-colored home absorbs as much as 90 percent of the solar radiation that strikes it, and even white walls can absorb 70 percent of the solar radiation that strikes them," Haines noted. "By reflecting this infrared radiation rather than absorbing it, the COOL WALL™ exterior coatings dramatically reduce the load on a home's air-conditioning system."

In addition to energy savings, the DOE tests showed that infrared reflective coatings are significantly more fade resistant, even in darker colors. The coatings also can reduce stress or "building fatigue" by minimizing the expansion and contraction of the home's exterior due to temperature fluctuations.

In addition to energy savings in individual homes, the reflective coatings also have a broader energy impact, Haines added. The reflective finishes help reduce the "heat island" effect, which raises ambient temperatures in some urban areas and causes even more energy consumption.

TEX•COTE® SUPER•COTE™ coatings are 10 times thicker on average than ordinary paint.

"The SUPER•COTE™ finish can last for decades without fading, flaking, peeling or chipping," said Haines. "Because of this durability, the SUPER•COTE™ finish virtually eliminates the need for scraping, sanding, painting and repainting."

The long-term savings in maintenance expense, coupled with the annual savings in air-conditioning costs, have resulted in a dramatic increase in interest in the "COOL WALL™" coatings in recent months, Haines said.

"The savings over the life of the home give homeowners an outstanding return on their investment," Haines concluded. "Plus they have the peace of mind that comes with knowing that rising energy costs will not take as big a bite out of their budget in the years to come."

TEX•COTE® SUPER•COTE exterior coatings are available in over 500 heat reflective colors and can be applied to virtually any type of surface including stucco, wood, masonry and fiber cement. After being professionally applied, the product is warranted for as long as the homeowner owns the home. TEX•COTE® SUPER•COTE™ coatings are sold exclusively through qualified dealers throughout the United States.

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