In Search Of Improved Indoor Air Quality

February 11, 2003
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CHICAGO — It seems like the array of IAQ products exhibited at the Air-Conditioning, Heating, Refrigerating Exposition (AHR Expo) just keeps getting bigger. Some products or companies may have not been there that were there last year, but new ones stepped forward to take their places.

From simple filters to ERVs and UV lights, IAQ manufacturers have been hard at work improving their products to get a bigger share of an increasing market, both residential and commercial.

Broan-NuTone introduced its GuardianPlus energy recovery ventilator at the AHR Expo.

Filtration

3M Filtration Products (St. Paul) introduced its Filtrete™ Quickfit HVAC filters for point-of-use air filtration. This diffuser filter attaches to the air supply duct and “captures airborne particulates that have penetrated standard HVAC filtration systems,” the company said.

The filters feature the low-pressure-drop, high-performance Filtrete media and a proprietary, lightweight, rigid frame with an integrated seal.

Enerzone Inc. (London, Ontario) displayed its advanced whole-house HEPA filters. The filter is installed by creating a bypass duct connection into the cold-air return of an existing forced-air heating-cooling system, the company explained. “It takes just a few hours for a contractor to mount and activate the filtration system.”

The filtration system comes with its own built-in blower, and is said to create no adverse effect on the efficiency of the furnace. For homes without ductwork, the contractor can install a modified duct layout to provide air circulation, the company said. Environmental Dynamics Group’s (Princeton, N.J.) Dynamic air cleaners can be applied at the return filter grille, as well as in package rooftop air handlers, fancoils, furnaces, unit ventilators, and as part of a custom air handler V-bank system.

The company said its filters fit a range of applications, including schools, casinos, office buildings, and hospital infectious disease areas.

Also in the realm of residential HEPA filtration, IQAir North America (Santa Fe Springs, Calif.) noted that its HealthPro® Series has passed EN 1822 HEPA filter testing.

With this certification, the company said that “You can rely on your HealthPro to hold back up to 100 times more allergens and more pollution particles than conventional HEPA air cleaners.”

With the unit’s sandwich design, the fan is positioned between noise-absorbing filters. With the dual-wall design, sound is absorbed between double housing walls. In addition, the unit’s eight shock absorbers are designed to minimize vibration.

GeneralAire (Novi, Mich.) introduced the G-99 air filter gauge, which indicates when to replace air filter media in forced-air heating and cooling systems.

“This is a simple monitoring device that eliminates the guessing game in changing media in duct-mounted filters or air cleaners,” said Lou Laroche, national sales manager.

The G-99 is included with the company’s high-efficiency media cleaners. It is also available separately as an add-on product.

PlasmaSol Corp. (Hoboken, N.J.) used a marketing slogan that was sure to create a lot of booth traffic and T-shirt seekers: “Kill the Ba***rds.” (They didn’t use the asterisks; we must, but you get the idea.) The product is the PlasmaSure Eliminator™, a central air sterilization unit that is said to collect and destroy organisms, including those under 0.3 microns.

The company said its technology “enables all-particle exposure to [the] plasma shield,” where bio-contaminants are trapped and killed. The product fits in most ducts, the company said.

Purafil Inc. (Doraville, Ga.), featured its Enersave gas-phase air filtration systems, which are said to reduce outside air requirements up to 75 percent in commercial buildings. The Purafilter™ is the key to Enersave, the company said.

The product uses potassium permanganate and activated carbon to remove a broad range of contaminants.

Enersave works in existing buildings, rework/remodel applications, and new construction.

Research Products Corp. (Madison, Wis.) introduced its Aprilaire® Model 5000 electronic air cleaner as a “year-round solution for allergies and illness.” The unit uses a patented technology that combines the properties of traditional electronic and micro-fiber-pleated media.

In operation, the unit gives airborne particles an electric charge, then captures them on the grounded microfiber media.

The company said this new product is 94 percent efficient at removing airborne particles down to 0.35 microns. This can include tobacco smoke, bacteria, dust, and other airborne particles, according to Bruce Darkow, Aprilaire product manager.

The DirectFlow modular air filtration system was displayed at the Air Savers booth during the recent AHR Expo in Chicago.

HRVs And ERVs

Broan-NuTone (Hartford, Wis.) introduced an energy recovery ventilator (ERV) for residential applications in its GuardianPlus ERV, the latest of its whole-house filtration and ventilation products. The company said the product is ideal for homes in humid climates, because the ERV transfers both latent (moisture) and sensible (temperature) energy from opposing airstreams, heating or cooling incoming air and minimizing incoming humidity.

Incoming fresh air is heated or cooled by the home’s exhausting air. The fresh, conditioned air is then sent through a HEPA filtration system and distributed throughout the house.

At the GE ECM Technology (Fort Wayne, Ind.) booth, the company promoted a system that mates environmental sensors with the variable-speed GE ECM™ motors, to an advanced ERV/heat recovery ventilator (HRV). The new system is said to be able to vary building inlet and outlet air pressures in order to create optimum IAQ over a range of commercial building conditions.

According to the company, two motors provide tightly controlled pressure balance within the building envelope; a fan speed tracking control creates the desired offsets between inlet and outlet fan pressures, based upon a variety of environmental inputs (i.e., moisture sensing, ambient and internal heating-cooling setpoints, appliance use, and building power consumption). A VOC sensor is optional. By constantly monitoring all system elements, the company said it can “precisely and constantly pressurize and depressurize a building.”

NuTech Energy Systems (London, Ontario) displayed its Lifebreath air cleaner, which applies a technology called turbulent flow precipitation (TFP) to trap larger and submicron particles from the airstream.

In homes with ducted air distribution, the product is installed as a bypass; the company said it has no effect on system efficiency. For homes without ductwork, the cleaner is available as a portable model.

RenewAire LLC (Madison, Wis.) offers and ERV that has no rotating wheel, condensation pan, defrost dampers, purge air losses, exhaust air transfer, or labyrinth seals. Exhaust and outside airstreams cross paths in the static-plate core, transferring both heat and moisture in the process, the company says.

The product is said to exhaust pollutants and excess moisture to outside; efficiently recover heat from the exhaust stream during cold weather; and precool and predehumidify incoming air during hot, muggy weather. It may be installed in a basement, crawlspace, mechanical closet, or attic.

NuTech Energy Systems' Lifebreath air cleaner.

UV Lights

Altru-V, A Division of UVDI (Valencia, Calif.), displayed its V-Strike, V-Mod, and V-Flex ultraviolet air cleaners. The products offer installation flexibility and “unmatched kill rates” in a variety of HVAC systems, the company said.

The company also introduced two V-Smart™ software programs to “help take the confusion out of the selection and application of UVC products and solutions for HVAC design and maintenance.” According to Dave Witham, vice president of New Technology for the Altru-V line, “The user just needs to type in the key variables to quickly figure out what products to use and how many lamps to apply to any given situation,” as well as the energy savings and payback period for Altru-V products.

Dust Free (Royse City, Texas) introduced its Biofighter® Versalight. The product features a remote-mount chassis design, quick-release lamp retention system, dual-lamp option, “very-high-output” germicidal lamps, and FDA Class II medical device listing. The company said it is useful where germicidal UV light is needed in a wide variety of mechanical and electrical parameters.

The Field Controls (Kinston, N.C.) booth featured the UV-Aire™ air-purifying system, which uses a high-intensity UV-C lamp to reduce microorganisms in the home as they cycle through the HVAC system. The company said the system “sterilizes or kills most contaminants as they pass the lamp.”

The company claims that in independent lab testing, one UV-Aire lamp was able to reduce levels of a typical bacteria by 93 percent in a single-pass airflow test; a two-lamp system reduced those levels by 99 percent.

Research Products Corp. also introduced the Aprilaire® 1900 Series germicidal lamp. “By adding a powerful quality UV lamp to our product line, we offer dealers a one-step shop for all their air quality needs,” said project manager Robin Pharo.

Publication date: 02/17/2003

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