Innovative Technology Breathes New Life into IAQ Products
Fresh-Aire UV, Friedrich Air Conditioning Co., and RGF Environmental Group Inc. rise above the rest
After six years of development, Fresh-Aire UV® released the 2017 gold-winning IAQ product package, Air-SMART™ IAQ.
“‘Is it working?’ is a question no contractor wants to hear,” said Aaron Engel, vice president of business development, Fresh-Aire.
Utilizing technological improvements in air quality sensors, Fresh-Aire set out to eliminate any doubt that its products are delivering as advertised.
These efforts facilitated a partnership that bundles IAQ products from Fresh-Aire UV and thermostats from LUX Products Corp., resulting in the Foobot Air Quality Monitor.
The combined package is branded AirSMART IAQ, which evolved from the company’s desire to offer the most advanced IAQ products designed with the contractor in mind.
“The combination is tremendous,” said Bryan Hatfield, service manager, CMI Air Conditioning & Electrical, Lake Park, Florida. “AirSMART can actually show customers that it’s working,” he said. “Before, contractors had to take a manufacturer’s word for it, but this is something they can look at in real time.”
Dan Cloutier, HVAC director, Florida Energy, Water & Air agreed, noting that the Air-
SMART alerts customers and gives them a level of assurance that this thing is actually working.
“It turns on, tells them there is something going on in the house — whether it be vacuuming, cooking, or smoking — and it shows how quickly the indoor air is scrubbed before it goes back to green,” Cloutier said.
AirSMART IAQ partners spent considerable resources evaluating the limitations that current IAQ products face and the issues contractors and end users encounter when trying to quantify and address those air quality issues. According to focus groups and interviews with contractors, end users, and distributors, IAQ products were determined to be a “hard sell” simply because they were not well understood.
But, according to Hatfield, Fresh-Aire has solved that problem, making the AirSMART a no-brainer for homeowners.
“Being able to show the customer that the product is working makes our job easier,” he said. “I can see this becoming more and more popular with homeowners.”
IAQ concerns exist in all homes and buildings throughout the nation.
“Old style houses would breathe and let bacteria out,” said Cloutier. “But, now, we seal every nook and cranny, and herein lies the problem — all that bacteria stays in the home, so we have to have some kind of product to kill it.”
AirSMART grants contractors and homeowners validation via the connected app that the quality of their air and the 100 percent automated solution is addressing and improving IAQ issues and concerns.
Friedrich Air Conditioning Co. won the silver award in the IAQ category for its VRP™ Variable Speed Vertical Heat Pump.
With efficiencies up to 20 SEER, Friedrich’s VRP is both an efficient and cost-effective solution for heating and cooling that is easier to install and maintain. The product features precision inverter controls and variable-speed compressors and fan motors to optimize the unit performance to the space conditions, which results in extremely high efficiencies; a factory-installed FreshAire® module that conditions and filters outdoor air to meet ASHRAE 62.1-2013 guidelines; and a proprietary logic to ensure the leaving air dew point is optimized for the space. Friedrich also addressed more basic concerns, like quiet operation, simple installation, and durable construction.
Because of the simpler and more straightforward nature of the packaged design, and the ability to potentially downsize or eliminate additional make-up air and humidity control equipment, the VRP reduces much of the headache and complexity facing all parties involved in the design, construction, and maintenance of a new building.
The company put three years of research and development into this product and will continue to advance the VRP in the years to come.
“We plan to introduce more models with higher capacities and plan to introduce more control options to cater to different market segments,” said Sabby Sabharwal, product manager, specialty products, Friedrich.
Finishing third is RGF Environmental Group Inc., taking the bronze award for its Rapid Recovery Unit® Air Purification and Odor Control System. RGF’s Rapid Recovery Unit (RRU) is the ideal solution to resolve malodor issues of all types and can be used to rapidly and effectively treat many problem areas during daily maintenance and housekeeping operations within occupied spaces. The company has been researching and developing chemical-free air-purification technology for 32 years — one year of research was solely dedicated to this product. The RRU utilizes RGF’s patented PHI-Cell® technology, which produces an advanced oxidation plasma similar to nature’s oxidizers.
“Based on feedback from the field, we saw a need to treat both individual rooms and HVAC duct systems with our PHI technology,” said Walter Ellis, executive vice president and general manager, RGF. “We created prototypes and tested them in-house. Then we sent prototypes to key contractors for use, analysis, and criticism.”
The product is easy to use, has a low operating cost, and diversifies HVAC contractors’ service menus. The RRU can bring awareness of IAQ to the general public, and contractors can demo the product for homeowners, so they can experience the difference in air quality for themselves.
Publication date: 7/24/2016