3M’s new granules for shingles help curb air pollution

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3M’s new granules for shingles help curb air pollution


Category: Chemicals / Metals

3M Co. has a new product to fight air pollution, and it’s not a filter or industrial monitor. It’s a granule used in roof shingles.

When the granules are exposed to ultraviolet sunlight, “radicals” are generated that then transform nitrogen oxide into a substance that washes away with rain instead of polluting the air, officials said.

The product falls under 3M’s industrial mineral products unit and is aimed for use on residential homes. Commercial buildings for many years have had solutions such as solar-reflective granules and “green roofs,” which grow grass or gardens on top of buildings to help with the environment.

Solutions for the residential side of the business have not been nearly as robust, 3M said.

The company is marketing its new product as residential asphalt shingles, which cover about 80 percent of U.S. home roofs.

The new smog-reducing “roofing granules are a first for residential asphalt shingles,” said Frank Klink, 3M senior laboratory manager. “This smart solution for pollution mitigation can help communities toward their [nitrogen oxide] emission reduction efforts.”

The new product adds to 3M’s roofing might.

The company, which started making granules in the 1930s, is now one of the largest roof materials suppliers in the country with customers such as Owens Corning, Malarkey Roofing, Atlas Roofing and CertainTeed. Over the years, 3M has developed products with environmentally friendly elements such as heat reflective granules for “cool roofs” and coatings that fight roof algae.

Gayle Schueller, 3M’s chief sustainability officer, expects demand for the smog-reducing granules will grow as cities continue to grow and environmental concerns continue to be front of mind.

“We expect there will be a lot of interest in this,” she said.

For example, Los Angeles recently mandated all new home roofs be made with products that help the environment.

In June, Oregon-based Malarkey Roofing Products became the first shingle maker to blend and adhere 3M’s anti-smog granules onto its shingles.

Every shingle leaving Malarkey’s Los Angeles factory is now made with the new product. Malarkey’s shingle plants in Portland, Ore., and Oklahoma City will follow soon. The company started in Los Angeles because of the new mandates.

Malarkey CEO Jim Fagan expects his new shingles will be popular elsewhere, too. Salt Lake City, Phoenix, San Antonio, and Austin, Texas, are all dealing with smog-related problems.

Source: Start Tribune