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How ozone detection can warn against possible damage to buildings

Ozone detection may become more important in the years to come, as sustainability efforts increase the environmental threats posed to buildings and other built structures.

Protecting the future of our towns and cities

Many local authorities are working hard to introduce more green spaces into their towns and cities; however, this could have unintended negative consequences for the longevity of structures.

A team at the University of Southampton has revealed that organic compounds released by plants can interact with sunlight to produce higher levels of ozone close to the ground.

This can then be damaging to buildings – especially those built of sandstone or limestone, as many heritage properties are.

Dr Abhishek Tiwary said: “The effects of green infrastructure vary, depending on building material and the particular pollutant.

“Limestone, for example, found in the buildings like Westminster Abbey or the Houses of Parliament, is strongly eroded by increased levels of ground-level ozone.”

A forecast for ozone erosion

The concerns could see ozone detection take to the streets in the years to come, as a means to help identify ozone hotspots where buildings are particularly threatened, and replace planting with less harmful species that do not lead to such high concentrations at ground level.