“Under normal conditions, when you’re not exercising, about 50 percent of heat is lost through infrared radiation,” lead study author Yi Cui, who researches materials science and engineering at Stanford University, told The Washington Post. No fabric on the market is totally permeable to this radiation. “If you could, in the summer time, make this radiation go out with nothing blocking it, you would feel cooler,” he explained.
In an accompanying op-ed for Science, MIT’s Svetlana Boriskina (who wasn’t involved in the study) concludes that such a fabric could help cut down on air-conditioning usage. “Depending on the climate,” Boriskina writes, "a 1 to 4 Celsius degree increase in the setpoint temperature could save up to 45% of the energy required for the building cooling.