Does the paint in your home/office clean the air? Now It Can!
Around 25 million litres of decorative paint is sold each year in New Zealand. The manufacturing processes, including those for raw materials used in paints, can involve significant use of energy and may produce hazardous waste. It is known that many paints and finishes release low level toxic emissions into the air for years after application. The source of these toxins is a variety of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) which, until recently, were essential to the performance of the paint. New environmental regulations, and consumer demand, have led to the development of low-VOC and zero-VOC paints and finishes. Most paint manufacturers now produce one or more non-VOC variety of paint. These new paints are durable, cost-effective and less harmful to human and environmental health. But already scientist have made the next step in paint development!
A Philippines-based company, Boysen, has created the world's first air-cleaning paint. It's based on nanoscale titanium dioxide, which is used to reduce harmful emissions in power plants and motor vehicles. It interacts with light to break down nitrous oxide and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) into harmless substances.
Nanotechnology is also behind smart electrochromic glass windows that can respond to environmental conditions. These windows can be integrated with building automation systems and programmed, along with other building equipment, to utilize natural sunshine and heat to offset the need for artificial lighting and artificial heating from HVAC.
Nanotechnology can even improve hygiene: Adding silver nanoparticles to paint can add lasting antimicrobial properties, an infection-prevention technique borrowed from the medical world. The biocidal effect of the released silver ions prevents the growth of mold, algae and bacteria.
Innovation in materials science and production technologies has made green building materials a thriving industry sector, with the global market projected to reach $529 billion by 2020, according to research firm Global Industry Analysts. For example, one category of new creative sustainably produced products is fire-retardant insulation produced from would-be waste materials such as shredded denim, plastic milk bottles, newspapers, agricultural straw, hemp and flax.
Are you just as amazed and intrigued by this new technology as we are? Don't hesitate and share it with your colleagues and friends!