ASU Study Uses Reflective Film to Cool Down Bus Shelters

The study found a 3M reflective material created cooler, more comfortable bus shelters

(Image courtesy The State Press)

Arizona State University recently completed a study in partnership with 3M and the city of Tempe, Arizona, in hopes of creating cooler, more comfortable bus shelters amid excess heat.

(Image courtesy Evan Parish/The State Press)
According to The State Press, the study found that the shelters with reflective film developed by 3M were, on average, 1 degree cooler than the outside air temperature and cooler than those without film. The team found that the shelters without the film were about 6.5 degrees hotter than those with it.

“What we found was that underneath these cool film shelters, people would be experiencing on the order of a 4-degrees reduction in what’s known as the mean radiant temperature in the middle of the day,” says David Sailor, a professor at the School of Geographical Sciences and Urban Planning and the director of the Urban Climate Research Center.

The 3M reflective film was found to be effective because, when placed over the bus shelters, it essentially reflects the energy of sunlight back towards space. However, even when the 3M film was used, the research found that the bus shelters were still hotter than the ambient air temperature on days where the high was around 110 F.

According to Sailor and his team, they hope that in the future and with new materials, the temperature of the shelters could be below the ambient air temperature at all hours of the day.

Tim Hebrink, a staff scientist at a 3M corporate research lab, says that after analyzing the data from the study, 3M has been working on two new generations of its polymeric reflectors.

The State Press says the city of Tempe is undecided on if it will use a 3M film on its bus shelter redesign. It first needs to determine if it’s feasible and how much it will cost to install and keep up.

This study showcases an example of how graphics shops can get involved in environmental installations in addition to graphics applications.

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Marie Fennema

Marie Fennema is the managing editor of GRAPHICS PRO, including GRAPHICS PRO Today, covering news and guidance in apparel decoration, awards and engraving, and sign and digital printing.

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