ATLANTA - Better understanding of filtration requirements and removal mechanisms in regard to particulate matter is expected to result from research being funded by the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE).

ASHRAE approved funding totaling $759,073 for seven research projects in the areas of design tools, and indoor air quality, comfort, and health at its 2004 Annual Meeting. Among them was 1281-RP, Identification, Classification and Correlation of Ultrafine Airborne Particulate Matter and Contrasted to Outdoor Values.

According to ASHRAE, studies have recognized that fine particles (those 10 micrometers and smaller) are a serious health threat and that ultra-fine particles (those 2.5 micrometers and smaller) are a bigger health threat. The research will help in understanding the benefits of the air quality necessary to improve health due to respirable particulate in the nanometer size range, Charles Kern said. Kern is a member of ASHRAE Technical Committee 2.4, Particulate Air Contaminants and Gas Contaminant Removal Equipment, which sponsored the project.

With this information, filter media and filter equipment manufacturers will be able to tailor media and filters to better clean the air to protect the public from harmful particulate.

The study will provide detail on the size and chemical makeup of airborne particulate down to 0.01 micrometer size range at two locations in the United States. It also will provide information on the variability of the particulate from location to location and also variability between times of the day and seasons of the year.

"This will allow better assessments of filtration requirements and removal mechanisms to be made as new studies determine the health risks associated with inhalation of fine particulate matter," Kern said. "At the same time, a comparison can be made of the particulate makeup indoors vs. outdoors to better evaluate the performance of HVAC systems in conditioning the outside air makeup as well as recirculated air."

The principal investigator is Shelly Miller, University of Colorado, Boulder, Colo. The project is expected to take two years at a cost of $109,972.

Also approved was 1309-RP, Development of Solar Radiation Models for Tropical Locations.

Good solar radiation data that can be used in building simulation, particularly for use in cooling equipment sizing, dehumidification, and solar energy applications, is lacking for many low latitude locations across the world, says ASHRAE. These areas include Hawaii, Mexico, Central and South America, and large parts of Asia.

"The need for solar radiation data for tropical locations for use in building simulation programs has never been greater, as this is where much of future construction growth will be concentrated," Dru Crawley said. "Building energy simulation, which depends on accurate weather data, is important to implement cost-effective and appropriate air conditioning and energy efficiency measures and for policy research." Crawley is a member of ASHRAE Technical Committee 4.2, Weather Information, which sponsored the project.

The principal investigator is Moncef Krarti, Ph.D., P.E., MK Associates, Boulder, Colo. The project is expected to take one year to complete at a cost of $77,544.

For more information on ASHRAE, visit

Publication date: 08/23/2004