It has become a common staple in many major cities, so much so that instances of respiratory related illnesses are increasing every day, not to mention how excess pollution is affecting the weather and surrounding environment.
To solve this problem, many nations are working hard to restrict emissions. However, this may not be enough. Some of the worst affected cities are looking to technological solutions in building and infrastructure design to tackle the problem long term.
Thus, the creation of smog eating buildings has begun.
Smog-eating technology was first developed by Elegant Embellishments, a research and design manufacturing studio that prioritizes green technology solutions for the most pressing problems the world is facing.
The technology is created by coating honeycomb-shaped futuristic looking tiles with titanium dioxide. Titanium dioxide utilises sunlight as energy to react with smog, neutralises the elements of air pollution, breaking them down to simple calcium nitrate, carbon dioxide and water. These harmless elements cascade off the buildings and can be washed away by rainwater. The tiles do not lose their affect over time and can go on eating smog forever. The developers state that these tiles can negate the effects of up to 1,000 cars a day!
An example of this technology in action is Manuel Gea González Hospital in Mexico City. The owners of the building took the extra step of adding the new “smog-eating” façade covering over 2,500 square meters of its surface area.
Another example is the Palazzo Italia – or Italy Pavilion – that was the centrepiece of the 2015 Milan Expo.
The material used does add around 4-5% to construction costs; however, the potential benefits of the technology far outweigh the cost factor. And we are being kinder to our next generation as well!
The Netherlands tested the material on a pavement built out of this smog-eating technology. They found that the pollution levels of that particular city block had gone down by as much as 45 percent in ideal weather conditions and around 19 percent on an ordinary day.
This and other green technologies open the doors to many new possibilities to help reduce pollution across the world. Who knows what other solutions may be created for other problems in the future!