Self-cleaning and de-pollution efficacies of photocatalytic architectural membranes
Photocatalytic self-cleaning “cool” roofs and walls can maintain high albedos, saving building cooling energy, reducing peak power demand, and mitigating the urban heat island effect. Other environmental benefits result from their de-polluting properties. Specimens from two different photocatalytic architectural membranes and a non-photocatalytic control were exposed alongside vertically, facing west, for two years in three California sites, and retrieved quarterly for testing. Photocatalytic materials showed excellent self-cleaning performance, retaining albedos of 0.74 – 0.75. By contrast, the control material exhibited an albedo loss of up to 0.10 units, with appreciable soiling observed by scanning electron microscopy. De-pollution capacity was assessed by quantifying NO removal and NOx deposition rates at 60 °C. Efficacy varied with exposure location, weather conditions, and the nature of the photocatalytic material. Seasonal effects were observed, with partial inhibition during the dry season and reactivation during the rainy season.