Contractors Turn to IAQ for Smart, Safe Solutions
Various IAQ products are solving problems, both commercially and residentially
Now, more than ever before, contractors are turning to IAQ products to solve complex problems involving air purification, filtration, disinfection, and sterilization.
Whether it’s through the use of UV light, whole-home IAQ solutions, or commercial-grade air-filtration equipment, the following case studies showcase ways contractors have solved IAQ problems at both the residential and commercial levels.
THE WELCOME SIGHT OF UV
In Tarpon Springs, Florida, St. Luke’s Cataract & Laser Institute recently installed UV surface disinfection equipment to supplement daily manual sterilization in two operating rooms (ORs) in the Villages, one of its seven central Florida clinics.
Trinity UVC Lighting LLC installed UV lamps in three rooftop HVAC systems to supply the 9,600-square-foot building with clean air devoid of allergens, mold, and any other biological contaminants.
“As far as I know, we’re one of the few eye care surgery companies in Florida using UV disinfection to this degree,” said Donald Bislick, facilities and information technology manager, St. Luke’s.
Trinity UVC Lighting specified and installed 390-microwatt (µW) lamp systems manufactured by Fresh-Aire UV. Surface disinfection system size and time exposure must be precisely calculated to assure total biological deactivation. Brian Stacy, vice president of sales, Trinity UVC Lighting, references published data from organizations such as the CDC to calculate the micro-wattage required to irradiate any known biological contaminant, such as clostridium difficile (C.Diff) or methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA).
Stacy’s calculations allow for the worst-case scenario and also specify a 200 percent protocol above recommendations, because all UV lamps slowly lose UV intensity over their expected one-year life cycle. He also slightly oversizes a system to ensure even the most resilient microorganisms are irradiated.
“A static system such as this ensures the same disinfection time every day, whereas portable UV robots require qualified employees to program, position, and monitor them properly during use for efficacy,” Stacy said.
The clinic’s 900- and 1,200-square-foot eye surgery rooms each have four 32-inch-long, stainless steel, ceiling-mounted, ozone-free UV lamp fixtures positioned in the center of the rooms. Timers activate the lamps for off-hours disinfection. Since UV-C wavelengths can be harmful to eyes and skin, Trinity UVC Lighting has built in UV-monitoring entry-door interlock sensors and motion-detection safety measures that can prevent accidental activation during occupancy times. Systems also allow manual operation by authorized personnel with timed shut-offs after proper disinfection time. Trinity UVC Lighting will soon install eight 32-inch and 46-inch UV-C lamps in the Villages’ three York® air handlers, manufactured by Johnson Controls Inc.
The air handlers in the Surgery Center total 7,100 cfm and are supplied chilled water from The Villages’ community central plant. Trinity UVC Lighting designs, custom-builds, and installs UV systems using Fresh-Aire UV power supplies, lamps, and other components engineered specifically for disinfecting an HVAC system’s airstream, evaporator coil, and interior surfaces.
The Tarpon Springs location’s initial 60-day UV system trial in one HVAC unit produced such impressive results of eliminating biological growth on a coil that J. Bradley Houser, St. Luke’s administrator, approved UV systems for the building’s other seven HVAC systems.
“Their attention to detail and understanding of disinfection makes UV technology an easy sell,” said Stacy.
REDUCING INDOOR ODORS
In a scientific and research laboratory, environmental control is crucial to maintaining testing integrity and ensuring staff comfort and safety. This was the case for Vantari Genetics, based in Irvine, California. Vantari is an advanced clinical laboratory specializing in helping individuals and physicians anticipate drug interactions while analyzing the risk of inherited diseases and cancer. While cheek swabs are sufficient for some forms of testing, urinalysis is also a valuable tool employed by Vantari researchers and technicians in evaluating drug metabolism and other issues.
At Vantari’s Irvine facility, pungent urine odors originating in the urinalysis work areas were invading the company’s offices and work areas. The company contacted IQAir to help design and implement a source-control solution that would vent the urine odors outside the building. A team of IQAir commercial solutions field specialists conducted a site assessment to determine potential solutions. The IQAir team worked with Vantari CEO Nick Arroyo and the company’s facilities manager to design a custom solution.
The initial approach was to fabricate an acrylic hood that would be placed above the urinalysis workstations and would vent odors directly outside. However, city officials would not permit the laboratory to ventilate the captured air to the outdoors. This prompted Vantari and the IQAir team to focus on air filtration instead of ventilation.
The IQAir team identified the IQAir GCX AM as an appropriate air-filtration technology for the urinalysis work areas. The GCX AM is a commercial-grade air purifier with gas and odor filtration, specifically configured for control of ammonia and ammonia-based odors associated with urine. The gas and odor cartridges in each GCX AM contain 22 pounds of granular-impregnated activated carbon made from bituminous coal. In addition, the GCX features particle filtration with an H11 IQAir HyperHEPA pre-filter that removes a minimum of 99 percent of all particles in the air that passes through the system, and 95 percent of all ultrafine particles down to 0.003 microns in diameter.
The GCX also features IQAir’s New Edition fan, capable of extracting up to 370 cubic feet per minute from each work area and drawing the air up into the 7-foot-long customized acrylic hood. The air then passes through IQAir FlexVac tubing and into the four GCX AM filtration systems.
To control odors in the other areas throughout the Vantari facility, an additional 10 IQAir GC AM systems were strategically placed in offices and open areas. These systems, slightly smaller than the GCX systems, remove any lingering odors not captured by the hood and air-filtration system in the urinalysis work area.
As a result, the IQAir systems have removed any significant urine odors from the environment. The GCX AM systems pull air up from the urinalysis workstations, and the powerful activated carbon filter cartridges have reduced urine odors to the level at which they are undetectable.
“The IQAir systems have worked wonders,” Arroyo said. “Now, most people can’t even tell we are in the urine toxicology business because of the lack of smell.”
HEALTHY HOME SYSTEM
Residing in Ellerbe, North Carolina, a 1,000-resident farm town located 75 miles east of Charlotte, Willa Spivey, her husband Andy, and their two dogs live in a 2,800-square-foot ranch situated in the state’s Sandhills, a coastal plain region notorious for its ragweed, chenopods, and pollens.
Built in the 1980s, the home presents unique condensation challenges in that it’s half brick and half framed. The kitchen area prominently features pine and reclaimed wood floors, and the adjacent leg of the structure’s L-shaped layout encompasses brick flooring and is built on a pad rather than a foundation.
“We live in an older rambler home that’s completely surrounded by pine trees,” said Willa Spivey. “Every morning, regardless of the season, I’d wake up with a stuffy nose. There’s a lot of pollen in the air, as this area is well known for its poor air quality.”
Andy Spivey felt his dogs and their constant shedding were to blame for the family’s allergic outbreaks.
“These dogs are the best, most loyal, and lovable dogs I’ve ever had,” said Andy Spivey. “But, they shed a lot. I feared they were bringing in a lot of dust and contributing to our allergies, so we kept them outdoors a lot more than we would have liked to.”
The Healthy Home System, a whole-home IAQ solution from Field Controls LLC, improves air quality by treating the entire home as a system, improving the efficiency and cleanliness of the air-handling system itself, and constantly monitoring and managing the airflow in the home for maximum benefit.
The system features four components: a controller, ventilation, filtration, and purification.
At the Spiveys’, two Fresh Air Dampers were tied into the return via flex duct. The dampers automatically power open when the system requires fresh air, and, as outside air enters the return, it’s filtered, purified, and tempered before entering the home.
The system’s Media Air Cleaner™ traps particles as small as 1.0 micron — including pollen, dust, and dander — creating fresh, clean, and pure air.
Providing yet another layer of purification is the system’s UV-Aire® product. Available in portable or in-duct configurations, UV-Aire neutralizes and reduces airborne germs, bacteria, viruses, mold, and fungi; eliminates mold growth on air conditioning coils; and prolongs the life and efficiency of the equipment.
All components are managed through an intelligent control that monitors central fan activity and engages the fan on a regular schedule to keep air that is fresh, clean, and pure circulating throughout the entire home, even when the system’s neither heating nor cooling. The Healthy Home System Control is set by the contractor and works independently of the thermostat, providing consistent operation.
“The Spiveys have two heat pumps, so we installed two Healthy Home Systems at their residence,” said Tim Begoske, Midwest regional sales manager, Field Controls. “Both featured a MERV-11 particulate capture, a media air filter, a germicidal lamp on the evaporators, and fresh air dampers. The Spiveys are receiving fresh, clean, and pure air 24/7, 365 days a year,” said Begoske.
“As air passes through the particulate capture, it removes the pollen, the dust, and any threat of airborne mold,” he said. “People fail to understand air is coming in, whether you like it or not. With this system, we clean, condition, and purify the air before it ever enters the home.”
Publication date: 2/29/2016