Paint is paint. It does a good job of protecting metals that deteriorate and comes in a variety of colors, but when a building is clad in painted metal you only get the color you choose. However, if you opt for Contrarian Metal Resources’ InvariMatte® stainless steel instead, you end up with a material that has a sophisticated appearance that absorbs the colors of its surroundings, adding interest and allowing the building to blend in to its environment. InvariMatte looks blue under a blue sky and takes on a warm glow at sunset. It absorbs the tones of adjacent materials, as well as those of nearby buildings and landscapes.
InvariMatte’s intricate texture refracts light, eliminating glare to the extent that it is safe to use in airports and other glare sensitive environments. It has a lower gloss than many paint finishes, yet absorbs colors from its surroundings better than paint ever can.
Stainless steel is an extraordinarily efficient reflector of solar radiation, making it an ideal material for building construction, particularly roofing. While initial solar reflectance of white painted metal surfaces can achieve the same degree of reflectance of stainless steel, painted surfaces lose about 5% of their solar reflectance properties each year. Since stainless steel does not oxidize, it retains its solar reflectance efficiency over time. Stainless steel provides a much greater offset to global warming in the long run compared to painted metals or membrane products that degrade over time and in addition, it requires little or no maintenance, reaping savings for the building owner.
The sustainably efficient solar reflection of InvariMatte also contributes to insulation value when used in exterior cladding. Stainless steel’s thermal conductivity is so poor that pots and pans must include aluminum, copper or carbon steel in order to transfer enough heat for cooking. Buildings work the same way. Those clad in stainless steel are better in terms of heating as well as cooling efficiency and savings add up combining both costs.
The Shore Hotel in Santa Monica, CA which opened a few years ago used Contrarian Metal Resources’ InvariMatte stainless steel for the envelope and it was stated that the panels form a handsome reflective façade that changes with the weather from the azure of the ocean to the gunmetal of grey skies.
InvariMatte is a product that respects its environment in different ways. Its superior solar reflectance saves energy and cools the planet. Its low glare surface does not produce blinding beams of light that can be a visual safety hazard or generate heat damage on nearby surfaces. In addition to these important benefits, it still absorbs environmental color in an extraordinary way.
To view more project photos, please visit our Project Gallery.
Photo of LA High School #9 (c) Tom Bonner
Photo of Shore Hotel, © Ryan Gobuty / Gensler