What if buildings could stay cool all on their own -- no electricity required? That’s the premise of a new invention by Yi Zheng, professor of mechanical and industrial engineering at Northeastern University. Zheng has created a sustainable material that can be used to make buildings or other objects able to keep cool without relying on conventional cooling systems. This material, which Zheng has dubbed “cooling paper,” works in two ways. Its light color reflects those warm solar rays away from the building, and it also sucks the heat out of the interior. The cooling paper can reduce a room’s temperature by as much as 10 degrees Fahrenheit. The material is recyclable and maintains its cooling properties once recycled. “The ultimate goal is to reduce global warming. The starting point is to reduce the use of carbon-based materials,” Zheng said.

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