Roads around the world use radiant heat too

Tue, 06/24/2014 - 13:26

While radiant heat is highly effective at warming houses in the winter, the natural radiant heat produced by the sun works all year long. While this might be beneficial for the colder regions of the world, in place such as Australia where even the colder days are warmer than usual government officials are looking for ways to reduce the amount of heat absorbed from the sun in cities all across the country, reported Government News.

Paving the way to a cooler day

One of the biggest absorbers of radiant heat is roads, the source stated. The energy is so effective at heating the dark pavement that the heat moves around and into the buildings around them in dense urban areas. To fight this problem, officials in Sydney are experimenting with a light-colored surface material meant to reduce the amount of heat the roads around the city soak up. This is expected to reduce the heat island effect that excessively heats metropolis areas.

The roads aren't the only surfaces that have this blisteringly warm consequence either. The roofs and shingles of houses and buildings also take in their fair share of the sun's energy. Sydney officials are hoping that their efforts will reduce carbon emissions by keeping the city cooler, allowing residents to hold back from blasting their air conditioners when the radiant heat from the roads fills their homes.

Letting the road warm the abode

While radiant heat might be too good at its job for warmer climates, colder regions such as the Netherlands are utilizing its effectiveness to solve multiple problems at once, according to CNET. Civil engineer company Ooms Avenhorn Holding has created what it calls the Road Energy System to absorb as much radiant energy as possible. The roads work similarly to a floor heating system with tubes running underneath cycling water through to capture the heat and store it for months on end.

Initially developed to melt the ice off of roads during the winter, the system has now been adapted to warm nearby buildings, the source stated. Because of recent global hype on clean energy sources, there are more opportunities than ever before to explore the possibilities of radiant heat. The system is currently being tested to heat four nearby office buildings using a pump to raise the temperatures from the road so they're warm enough to warm the structures.