Sun-Reflective Coating Applied on GA Playground
A green private institution that educates students from preschool through eighth grade in Mableton, Georgia, has recently installed a solar-reflective coating on its basketball court and playground.
The decision to coat the court and playground at The SAE School arrives as extreme heat and the impacts of climate change continue to negatively affect the environment and people, especially more vulnerable groups such as children.
According to SAE Head of Schools Desmond Bobbett, due to the heat index and heat stipulations, the school has sometimes had to cut students’ outside time short.
Playground Sustainability & Safety
Late last month, crews from StreetBond (Parsippany, New Jersey) began applying a blue solar-reflective coating at The SAE School’s basketball court and playground after nearly a year of planning. StreetBond is a business unit of GAF, North America’s biggest roofing and waterproofing manufacturer.
The basketball court and playground of SAE School in Mableton were painted in a reflective coating designed to reduce heat. https://t.co/VRaQKh8qrl— Cobb County News (@CobbNewsNow) August 26, 2022
“What we did is we came down late last year and started working with [SAE],” said Eliot Wall, General Manager of StreetBond. “What we did is we partnered with them and said, ‘we don’t want to just do your project, we want you to be part of it.’ So we had the kids actually design what was going to be put down.
“We’ve been coming down over the past couple of months and we actually did a little demo over in a parking spot where we had them measure the temperature of the asphalt before, and then we put down the coating and measured it after. We left it there and every day since they’ve been coming out and measuring it.”
For the project, students were asked to submit designs and vote for what the district would place over the blacktop basketball court. After tallying the votes, it was decided that coatings applicators would apply a blue-colored paint, which correlates with the school’s mascot: a blue dragon.
Older students at the institution then measured temperatures and compared the blacktop temperature to the solar-reflective coated surface temperature for several weeks.
According to Cobb County Courier, the coating reduced ground surface temperatures by roughly 10-12 degrees Fahrenheit. This is due to the coating’s invisible shade technology, which works with light or dark shades.
“What the coating does is it reflects solar energy,” Wall explained. “And we have our additive, it’s not just visible light spectrum, which is typically what happens — you’ll see white coatings that reflect light. Ours actually works within the infrared spectrum to reflect that light, that energy.
“…Because all of the energy from the spectrum of light is just radiation — different parts of it you can see, other portions of it you can’t, like ultraviolet and infrared — this works on multiple levels of that spectrum to reduce the amount of radiation heat energy that’s being stored in the pavement.”
According to reports, kids at SAE will be able to play on the new surfaces as early as this week. SAE CFO Scott Starowicz also shared that the coating plans to help extend students’ outdoor time. In addition, the coating is also reported to have sand mixed into it, which will help with traction and in avoiding slips or falls.
Eighth-grader Munachi Afulezi added that with the paint, kids who play outside can feel more relief from the weather.
“The paint will help once [the surface] is cooler,” Afulezi said. “It won’t be as much of a burden to go outside and you’ll be able to enjoy it more…I think it’s been a good project for the past summer. It was really fun doing this over time, so it’ll be interesting to see how it all turns out.”