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Government Called to Use Pollution Absorbing Roof Tiles

A failure to reach the required air quality targets in several UK cities has led calls for the government to introduce special types of ‘pollution-eating’ construction materials in future build projects.

Photocatalytic technology, which can be applied to some of the construction materials used in building roads and properties, effectively ‘eats’ any surplus amounts of nitric oxide (NOx) and nitrogen dioxide released into the air.

Marley Eternit, a member of the global-based Etex Group and a major provider of roofing and cladding materials to the UK construction industry, manufactures its EcoLogic line of roof tiles using titanium dioxide, which hastens the naturally occurring nitrogen cycle. Since its launch in 2007, EcoLogic has been used by some local authorities on houses to improve air quality in the area.

The specially formulated tile coating converts asthma-inducing nitrogen oxides in the air to nitric acid, which is then processed to create calcium carbonate, a fluid fertiliser that poses no environmental danger.

Marley Eternit believe that the UK has fallen short of its air pollution goals in 16 locations, most of which are large and active cities. The EU has warned the UK government that it must reduce the amount of nitrogen dioxide the country produces and submit an action plan detailing how it will do this by the end of the year.

Many believe the government needs to also reduce the amount of pollution being produced by using photocatalytic technology on the country’s roads and buildings. Once implemented, this step will absorb the noxious amounts of nitric oxide being created by the exhaust fumes from road traffic.


Specialists in Construction Insurance

At present Marley Eternit is the only manufacturer that produces the technology to use the photocatalytic roof tile coatings that eat the pollution lingering in the air.

Over the lifespan of the average-sized roof, the estimated nitric oxide levels removed by the tiles could be equivalent to the amount of pollution created by a modern car travelling over 100,000 miles.

The photocatalytic coating is already being widely used to cut roadside pollution in countries such as America, Japan and the Netherlands. A study of high-traffic roads in Holland revealed that photocatalytic concrete decreased nitric oxide levels by 25% on average, although ideal weather conditions could support a 45% decrease.

Tests suggests that the coating can keep absorbing pollutants for approximately 25 years.

The impact on pollution levels could be significant if the construction materials were widely adopted by the industry and go a long way toward helping the UK comply with the EU standards. Marley Eternit believe the UK government should offer incentives and grants to promote the use of the technology.



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