(PhysOrg.com) -- From an environment standpoint, silver and white cars are cool; black cars are not. Researchers at the Berkeley Lab Environmental Energy Technologies Division (EETD) say that the color of your car affects your car's fuel economy and how seriously you contribute to pollution. A light-colored shell reflects more sunlight than a dark car shell. The cooler the color, the cooler the cabin air, and the less of a need to run your air conditioner.
Ronnen Levinson, scientist in the Heat Island Group at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, is lead author of the study. The research was published in Applied Energy.
The researchers had two cars in the sun for an hour, one black and the other silver, parked facing south, in Sacramento, California. The silver Honda Civic (shell SR 0.57) had a cabin air temperature of about 5-6°C (9-11°F) lower than an identical black car (shell SR 0.05).
A silver (or white) shell would allow for a lower-capacity air conditioner as well. The cars were run through five identical cycles of soaking in the sun. Each cycle consisted of an hour with the air conditioners off, followed by a half hour of cooling with the air conditioners running at maximum. The researchers measured the roof, ceiling, dashboard, windshield, seat, door, vent air and cabin air temperatures in each car along with weather conditions in the lot.
Wednesday, October 26, 2011
Silver and white cars are more environmentally friendly
Their lighter color keeps them cooler and saves air conditioning fuel costs.