Smog-eating tile expands its reach

| by Teena Hammond
Smog-eating tile expands its reach

Smog-eating tile is expanding. But don't worry. It's not something out of The Walking Deadzombie series. Instead, it's concrete tile that neutralizes smog-forming nitrogen oxides and it's manufactured by Irvine, Calif.-based Boral Roofing.

The tiles were first installed by KB Home on houses in several Southern California communities. The product has now been rolled out nationally in an expanded color range and is being installed by other builders in Texas and Florida as well as California.

The pilot launch with KB Home proved to be such a success that other builders requested access to the product, said Kayla Kratz, product manager for Boral Roofing.

"We've gotten excellent feedback on the tile from the South Coast Air Quality Management District. We're seeing if we can lobby for the adoption of this technology for air quality concerns in other communities," Kratz said. The SCAQMD is in Southern California.

Kratz said that she's working to try to get rebates or tax credits for homeowners to help offset the cost to the tiles, similar to credits available for solar panels or geothermal, since the cost of these tiles can be 25-50 percent more than traditional tiles.

"One focus group said they like the idea of this roof because they know on a daily basis they are doing something good for the environment without them having to do anything. They don't have to think about it like recycling," she said."

Nitrogen oxides are produced by most vehicles. In one year, the smog-eating tile on a 2,000-square-foot house can neutralize the amount of nitrogen oxides produced by a car in 10,800 miles of driving. The tiles contain titanium dioxide, which is a naturally occurring substance that Boral Roofing incorporates into the tiles' surface, as previously reported in ProudGreenHome.

Titanium dioxide is a photo catalyst, so when the tile's surface is expose to ultraviolet light, as found in daylight, it breaks down the nitrogen oxides in the air into harmless calcium nitrate. This process works on both sunny and cloudy days.

And calcium nitrate? It's a fertilizer. When it washes off the roof it harmlessly fertilizes the garden, making the roof tiles a simple decision for the homeowner wanting to go green.

Read more about building a green home.

Topics: Building Green, Roofing

Teena Hammond
Teena Hammond has published more than 2,000 articles in People and W magazines, Women's Wear Daily, and in dozens of newspapers and books. She also wrote a home improvement, remodeling and decor column that ran in Gannett newspapers nationwide. She's interested in all things green and would love to hear from you with your story ideas.

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