James Kirkus-Lamont/Flickr (CC BY NC ND 2.0)

New type of paint cools buildings when exposed to sun

Using the sun to cool a building might seem like a fool’s errand, but a new high-tech paint based on the principles of laser cooling could do just that. The paint consists of two layers: The first filters some of the sun’s rays, and the second absorbs heat energy from the sun and converts it into light energy—a process that results in a net cooling, New Scientist reports. The principle is based on an existing phenomenon known as laser cooling, where special materials will absorb a photon at one frequency and then emit another photon at a higher frequency and thus a higher energy. The result is a paint that cools the room below it up to 10°C and reduces energy consumption by up to 60%. Researchers are hoping not only to reduce costs at home with the technology, but also to apply it to space travel, where heat tends to build up in unwanted places because there’s no air to carry it away.