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As The Earth Gets Hotter, Stainless Steel Surfaces Can Offer Much-Needed Relief

Jim Halliday

Jim Halliday, Business Development Director, Rigidized Metals

Buffalo, NY - As the global temperature rises, micro climates, especially those in cities and locations in proximity to solar arrays, are also getting hotter. These heat waves are placing a public health burden on population centers subjected to the heat island effect of materials in the built environment like asphalt, metal, glass and even solar collection panels.

The architectural design community has accomplished a great deal in terms of promoting sustainable design and embracing alternative energy. However, public policy’s focus on carbon has inadvertently diminished interest in alternative solutions like reflective materials. More consideration needs to be given to the use of materials that efficiently reflect the Sun’s radiation if we are to mitigate this warming trend.

Metal building envelopes can contribute in a big way. Since they are obviously concentrated in heat island zones, roofing and wall systems that reflect solar radiation will mitigate heat in urban micro climates. Further, increased coverage of the Earth’s surface in these reflecting materials can reduce the planet’s temperature. Metal building envelopes are an economical, scalable and passive way to reduce micro and macro climate temperatures alike.


Shown above is an airport project featuring InvariMatte® Micro Textured stainless steel roofing. Below is Via 57 West in New York City, featuring InvariMatte® Micro Texture stainless cladding.


It’s time for a smarter surface. Stainless Steel is a radiant barrier that can be installed as an exterior building cladding material, reflecting more than 90% of the Sun’s radiation back into space without generating heat. Naturally-cleaning, hydrophobic surfaces, like Rigidized® Metals’ InvariMatte®, are available that maintain this high solar reflection without degrading over time, unlike painted surfaces. High solar reflection does not mean the surface has to be glossy. For example, InvariMatte® is a hydrophobic surface that stays naturally clean from rainwater or wind removing particulate, and has lower gloss than many paint finishes.


Hamad International Airport, Doha, featuring InvariMatte® Micro Texture Roofing.

Much work has been done by industry in the field of solar reflection. High efficiency paint coatings and anodized aluminum surfaces are great performers in this regard. Stainless steel is best in class, with naturally cleaning hydrophobic metal surface textures that are capable of reflecting up to 94% of the Sun’s radiation without degrading over time.

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About Rigidized® Metals

Rigidized-logoSince 1940, Rigidized® Metals Corporation has been a leader in the production of engineered metal surfaces and panels. Metal texturing to stainless, titanium, anodized aluminum, copper and other metal substrates adds strength, durability and beauty, making the company's products ideal choices for a whole host of interior and exterior applications, including as roofing, column covers, walls, elevator interiors, ceilings, screens and more. To learn more, visit

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