Can Skyscrapers Fight Pollution?

Two Hong Kong architects believe that as we pollute the air, our skyscrapers can help clean up the mess. Frederick Givens and Benny Chow‘s “Indigo Tower” features a “nano-coating of titanium dioxide,” designed to neutralize pollution when it hits the building. The tower would even work at night: “Photovoltaic panels would capture enough energy from the sun to allow the production of indigo light (near the UV portion of the spectrum) during evening hours.” The purple glow would be visible for miles. [%comments]

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  1. Drill-Baby-Drill Drill Team says:

    Cosider Oppurtunity Cost. A 500 million dollar shiny glass skyscraper with a small shopping mall at the base and parking spaces for 300 cars. IT has a titanium dioxide coating( really white paint) that reportedly can glom up smog dust; maybe 5 lbs per day for the entire structure.

    OR Plant ONE MILLION TREES in the City in parks, streets and greenbelts. Each tree grows its wood by extracting smog causing CO2. In the life of one tree, it would amount to up to 5 tons. Trees would cool cities, provide respite for relaxing, provide shady walks, provide a windbreak, shade your car from summer sun, lowering home air conditioning costs,increase the value of homes and neighborhoods, provide a classic natural scuplture, inspire art, provide millions of tons of rich soil mulch and admendments, provide warmth for toasty fires in winter, help cook our food, boil our tea, provide nuts for squirrels and habitats for millions and millions of birds.

    No architect can build a structure so lovely as a tall, 100 year old , heritage tree.

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  2. Lystraeus says:

    An excellent idea. I imagine the coating will have to be replaced after sufficient use (build up of nitrates, etc).

    A further idea for all city skyscrapers, not just those in smog-filled cities, would be coatings that remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. We’ll get ‘free’ artificial trees, in locally high concentrations of carbon dioxide.

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  3. wle says:

    what would the purple light do?

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    • buchan says:

      The purple light would look cool and attract The Artist Formerly Known as Prince and Using That Name Again. Which would also be cool.

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  4. Eric M. Jones says:

    A much better way is to avoid having children (oops… there I said it), since a first-world child adds a million kilograms of CO2 to the atmosphere.

    But we can’t discuss it……

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  5. anti-pollution says:

    >>No architect can build a structure so lovely as a tall, 100 year old , heritage tree.

    Drill-baby-drill makes a good comparison but I think the comment misses the point.

    A comparison between the anti-pollution effect of one million trees versus one skyscraper is meaningless.
    The utility of one cannot be a substitute for the other (unless someone invents tree offices and tree-malls and tree-home that serve as reasonable alternativea to conventional homes, offices, shopping malls etc.)

    The real question is whether the new skyscrapers are a superior alternative to current skyscrapers and this is where comparisons will make sense.

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  6. Dunkle says:

    Planting trees is always a good idea, but it is not quite a perfect substitute. Much as I love treehouses, I doubt few businesses would care to set up shop in one. A skyscraper is a building first, and with this technology, perhaps also a giant air purifier as well. The opportunity cost that we should then compare is that of the additional cost of the TiO2 paint and indigo lights. But we must also consider the geography of the situation. In major cities, it is simply impossible to plant a million trees, and even if the land existed, the shadows of existing skyscrapers could prevent them from getting the sun they need to work.

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  7. Abir says:

    Mates, CO2 is not even a pollutant.
    It is physically impossible for carbon dioxide to contribute meaningfully to any global warming.
    Just do a google on spectral analysis of the gas, and see what % of infrared it can absorb.

    Dont be fooled by Al Gore, people.

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  8. Mike says:

    Maybe if skyscrapers were built like the Planeta Building in Barcelona, it might help a little.

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