Titanium Dioxide: How a Roof Coating Can Help Lower Air Pollution

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Titanium Dioxide

The topic of air pollution has become a central discussion point in today’s world. In the wake of present environmental issues, many people continue to look for effective ways to ameliorate the pollution harming the atmosphere. And while the task of alleviating air toxins is ordinarily allotted to plants and trees, new studies have shown that titanium dioxide roof tiles can help break down nitrogen oxides and remove it from the air.

Pollution and Solution

Nitrogen oxide is a binary compound of oxygen and nitrogen formed by burning fossil fuels, and reacts with sunlight to create smog, a problem that can cause potentially serious health complications for people with existing medical conditions. Titanium dioxide, on the other hand, is a mineral used in many types of paints and varnishes that absorbs nitrogen oxide when exposed to sunlight.

Recent studies have estimated that an area containing one million roofs painted with titanium dioxide could remove approximately 21 tons of nitrogen oxide per day. Each roof tile was shown to remove at least 88% of the ambient nitrogen oxides in the atmosphere, and a single roof could remove the equivalent pollution of a car driving 11,000 miles per year.

The Cost

The expenses associated with titanium dioxide roof coatings are estimated to be quite low. Because it only costs $5 for every average roof, titanium dioxide roof coatings prove a very simple and cost-effective measure to help reduce the amount of pollution in the atmosphere. These minimal costs make it a simple matter for anyone installing roofing to apply a coat of paint, as well as adopt the coating into yet another tool to help combat pollution (in areas such as southern California).

Installation of titanium dioxide roofs, along with additional measures, could help cities all across the world to ensure that the air their citizens breathe is both cleaner and healthier.

Continuing the Project

Students at UCR were recently recognized as phase one winners of the EPA People, Prosperity and the Planet challenge, a competition for college students meant to produce “designing solutions for a sustainable future.” Their ongoing hopes are that further variables will be tested using titanium dioxide coatings, and that we may find new ways to use the material to continue to decrease air pollution and make our planet a better place to breathe.

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