Santa Barbara
69° F
Santa Maria
65° F
San Luis Obispo
64° F
67° F

Smog-eating tiles can help eliminate pollution

Published On: Mar 06 2013 01:57:16 PM CST
Updated On: Mar 21 2013 10:11:13 AM CDT

By Adam Verwymeren, Networx

Homeowners might soon be able to scrub the air around their cities of harmful pollution, and the best part is, they don’t even have to lift a muscle to help out. California-based Boral Roofing is marketing a new smog-eating roofing tile that they hope can help make pollution a thing of the past.

The science behind the tiles is simple: "The key ingredient is titanium dioxide," said Kayla Kratz, product manager for Boral Roofing. The titanium oxide is embedded in the surface of the tiles, which reacts with sunlight, causing harmful nitrogen oxide to be converted into harmless nitrates.

In fact, those nitrates aren’t just harmless; they’re actually beneficial fertilizers that get washed down onto your yard every time it rains, adding an extra benefit to homeowners who install the tiles.

For those worried about chemical reactions with smog happening on their roofs, don’t sweat it, the company says. Titanium dioxide is a common substance that most people interact with daily -- it’s in toothpaste, cosmetics and house paint.

So how effective are these roofing tiles? Each year an average size roof of 2,000 square feet can neutralize 10,800 miles worth of smog, Kratz said.

Many consumers these days go to great lengths to cut back on the pollution they create -- everything from installing more energy efficient light bulbs to curtailing unnecessary road trips. But Boral’s smog-eating technology has the added advantage of addressing pollution that has already been created.

"This is a technology that can reduce some of the crimes that have already been done against the environment," Kratz said.

The tiles do cost about 25 percent more than regular tiles, which can add about $800 to the cost of an average-size roof. However, the company is hoping that states will soon start offering rebates or subsidies for the tiles, much as they do for solar panels or energy-saving appliances.

The company, which expects to officially launch the product in February, already has one home builder developer that is bullish on the future of smog-eating tiles. KB Homes, based in Southern California, is working with Boral to include the tiles in many of the new homes they build.

Boral Roofing isn’t the only company getting into the pollution-zapping act. Italcementi, an Italian cement company, includes the same titanium dioxide in its cement, transforming entire highways and sidewalks into massive smog sinks. And in May, Alcoa, a major aluminum producer, introduced EcoClean, a line of smog-eating siding for commercial structures. The company, which says 10,000 square feet of EcoClean siding has the equivalent scrubbing power of 80 trees, hopes to win over major businesses looking to project a green image to customers.

"We're very focused on branded companies," said Craig Belnap, president of Alcoa Architectural Products. "Branded companies are very focused not just on the buildings themselves, but also on the sustainability of their brand."

While these smog-eating building materials certainly make the future seem a little brighter, it’s not a total solution to our pollution problems. A Boral roof might be able to offset 10,800 miles of driving, but the average American travels 13,000 miles each year. And while these miracle materials can scrub the air of harmful gases like nitrogen oxide, they aren’t able to break down carbon dioxide, which contributes to global warming each year.

However, these new roof replacement materials are a promising starting point, and, if they live up to the hype, could put a dent in dirty air in the very near future.




The views expressed are not those of this company or its affiliated companies. Please note by clicking on "Post" you acknowledge that you have read the Terms Of Service and the comment you are posting is in compliance with such terms. 
blog comments powered by Disqus
  • Body of Isaiah Sanchez Recovered at Cachuma Lake

    Santa Barbara County sheriff rescue crews have found a body near the place where Isaiah Sanchez went missing.

  • Ellwood Fire

    Explosion at Goleta Apartment Complex Leaves One Man Hospitalized

    Santa Barbara County Fire crews responded to an explosion and fire at an apartment complex on 447 Ellwood Drive in Goleta.   Fire officials received the call at around 7:00 p.m. One person was injured and taken to the hospital with severe burns.  The apartment manager helped put out a small fire that broke out after the blast. The explosion and fire are still under investigation.  The fire did not spread to any adjoining apartments.

  • dangerous dogs

    Orcutt Family Starts Petition to Change County Ordinance

    An Orcutt family is fighting to keep their dogs from being euthanized, and is now trying to change a county ordinance on aggressive dogs. The family has an online petition spreading their message on the internet in an effort to get the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisor's attention.

    Peggy Henning remembers the day her family welcomed Daisy and Duke into their family like it was yesterday.

    "They immediately just became part of the family," said Henning. "They were very friendly with all the guests we had coming over."

    But things changed when Daisy and Duke got loose. They liked chasing cats.

    "Dogs are pack animals and that is their default instinct," said Henning. "If they are bonded or litter mates, it intensifies that. They would get out of the confines of our house or yard and this instinct would come to the surface."

  • motorcycle_police_officer

    Drivers Stung in a Sting Come Close to Hitting Pedestrians

    A crackdown on drivers who won't stop for pedestrians in a crosswalk is underway in Santa Barbara and Goleta.

  • Santa Paula Reserve Police Officer Resigns After Posting Video About Bicyclists

    Volunteer posted a YouTube video joking about running over bicyclists.

  • Explosion Caused By Man Producing Marijuana Oil

    Explosion Caused By Man Producing Marijuana Oil

    Investigators said the Goleta apartment explosion and fire Monday night was caused by the illegal process of making butane honey oil.

  • Juvenile Hall Court to Host Gang-related Murder Trial

    The so-called "U-Haul murder trial" is expected to be another high security, gang-related trial that requires extra time and money to make it work at the Santa Barbara County Juvenile Hall courtroom which is seen as the most practical venue.

  • Stone Named Interim Head Football Coach for Dons

    JT Stone Will Serve as Interim Head Football Coach at Santa Barbara High School

    Stone has 14 years of coaching experience at the youth and high school level.

  • Slideshow: Rescue Crews Find Body In Cachuma Lake

    Santa Barbara County sheriff rescue crews have found a body near the place where Isaiah Sanchez went missing.

  • Slideshow: Blondes VS Brunettes Charity Football Game

    A charity football game at the Polo fields in Carpinteria pits the Blondes vs Brunettes. The all-women football teams duked it out on Saturday to raise funds for the Alzheimer's Association. Both teams fought fiercely but in the end, only one came out the victor.

    Photography by Oscar Flores.