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New Roofing Material On Pitt Building Will 'Eat' Pollution

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Roofs -- they are all around us, keeping out the elements.

Yet roofs are invisible especially on tall buildings that dot the landscape.

Now the University of Pittsburgh is experimenting with a new roofing product "which eats pollution," says Dan Marcinko, Assistant Vice Chancellor.

"It's supposed to pull nitrogen oxide out of the air which comes from car emissions, coal plants and other fossil-burning fuels," Marcinko told KDKA money editor Jon Delano.

Marcinko, who is the University's sustainability coordinator, says the roof of Posvar Hall is getting a special treatment of something called eco-activ manufactured by a company called Siplast.

Kirk Goodrum, who heads up research and development for Siplast, says eco-activ attacks the nitrogen pollutants in the air.

"It changes it from a gas to a solid because in a gas form it can cause ground level ozone and can lead to respiratory issues," notes Goodrum.

So can one roof at Pitt make much of a difference?

"We're saying around 200 or so vehicle emissions could be pulled out of the air," says Marcinko.

Marcinko says if it works well at Posvar, Pitt could use it on other buildings, too.

So how about on private homes?

"We primarily deal in commercial roofing, but nothing would restrict it from being used on a residential home," adds Goodrum.

The new roofing is also expected to keep Posvar Hall cooler for both students and faculty.

It will be completed before the fall semester begins.

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