Document Type

Article (Online ahead of print)




The objectives of this research are to determine the factors associated with the minimum, maximum, and average thermal emittance temperatures of wall murals in Richmond, Virginia, and make recommendations for color and location of wall murals. Data for 17 parameters were collected for 64 art murals in downtown Richmond, VA from 28 June 2018 – 19 July 2018. Date, time, solar exposure duration, solar elevation, latitude, longitude, air temperature (C), lux, color, solar cardinal minutes, cardinal direction, minimum, maximum, and average surface thermal emittance temperatures of mural face were recorded for each mural. We reject the hypothesis that minimum, maximum, and average thermal emittance temperatures of wall murals do not vary significantly with temporal, spatial, physical changes, and solar factors. Maximum, minimum, and average emittance temperatures of wall mural art varied significantly with the number of minutes that solar energy directly illuminating mural art for each cardinal direction, lux, solar elevation, total diurnal exposure, maximum mural color, and percent dark colors on murals. Minimum mural wall art temperatures (30.0-37.0 C) occurred on surfaces facing East, North, Northwest, and Northeast which also had the lowest lux values (8,867-14,231); highest temperatures (44.8-49.9 C) were recorded on walls facing South, Southeast, and West, which had the highest lux values (42,517-46,000). Based on results of this study and those investigating mitigation of the urban heat island effect with building materials and coatings on walls and roofs, we recommend a study that uses a systematic approach to locating wall mural art based on specific colors, paint composition, and wall materials to guide local building authorities owners, and artists to maximize albedo. Additionally, we recommend, where possible, mural art should be painted on vertical surfaces facing North, Northeast, and Northwest where lux values and thermal gain are the lowest of all possible cardinal directions. Such locations could accommodate the use of dark colors without significantly increasing the heat load in urban communities. And finally, where mural art is being considered for building walls facing South, Southeast, Southwest and West, we recommend that artists use a palette of primarily light colors with high reflective properties to maximize albedo, and minimize use of dark colors.


Table 1 is a data spreadsheet which is contained in a separate file: https://digitalcommons.odu.edu/vjs/vol71/iss1/1

Table-1.xlsx (22 kB)
Table 1 for manuscript