2019 Dealer Design Awards: Indoor Air Quality
Contractors pick disinfection, filtration, as top qualities for IAQ
ProductMini UV LED - LED Disinfection System
Back in 2014, when Fresh-Aire UV began the research that would lead to the Mini UV LED - LED Disinfection System, LED technologies for conventional lighting and manufacturing applications were improving rapidly. But LEDs for disinfection? Not so fast, said Aaron Engel, vice president – business development at Fresh-Aire UV.
“The lack of HVAC market-ready UV LEDs was mostly due to the limitations of how the various UV wavelengths are produced and the effectiveness of the UV LED diode,” he said.
So the company worked to isolate the wavelength that would allow effective disinfection while still protecting occupants and sensitive materials from UV exposure.
The result paid off with a Gold award in the IAQ category of this year’s Dealer Design Awards program.
The Mini UV-LED is non-ozone emitting and is designed to address the ductless system in real time. The 40-inch LED strip is flexible, has adhesive backing, and can be cut to measure. Designed specifically for ductless mini splits and other tight-fit applications, the ribbon can be installed inside the unit or near the blower to address the mold and biofilm that result from condensation.
“It is the first product to proactively address the issue without having to wait for the issue to get so bad that the mini split system must be manually cleaned,” said Engel. “With a five-year warranty and 50,000 hours-plus LED life, there is little additional cost or maintenance required after installation.”
The Mini UV-LED was created as a result of contractor demand and a drive to offer industry-leading innovative IAQ solutions, according to Engel.
“We believed that as successful as the Mini-UV system happened to be, if we were able to design an effective LED solution — an industry first — we can allow for improved installation options, making for an even easier installation with superior performance,” he added.
Jeff Vida, executive director at Four Seasons Heating and Air Conditioning in Chicago, has used the Mini UV-LED disinfection system ever since it was released and said it’s incredibly easy to install.
“With mini splits, the toughest part is that there are not many add-on accessories you can present to customers,” he said. “This one is a no-brainer. By keeping the system clean, it keeps the area around it clean, and that makes for happier customers.”
For one client, Four Seasons installed a complete mini split system with eight heads; it served as their primary heating and cooling source.
“They loved animals … had a house full of dogs and cats,” he said. “This was a perfect accoutrement to keep the blower wheels clean. Prior to this, they would have had to have multiple cleanings a year, because of the amount of pets they had in the house.”
“The UV light system for the mini split is an awesome idea,” noted one of the contractor judges. “It will be a game-changer for all wall units.”
ManufacturerRGF Environmental Group Inc.
ProductMERV 16 &
MERV 13 with Carbon Replacement Filters
In grow facilities, bacteria and mold can continuously breed within the environment and on plants. That’s why RGF Environmental Group Inc. won a Silver award for the Element Air Tower Air Purification System, which uses photohydroionization® (PHI) technology to reduce airborne microbes and odors by 99 percent.
Using feedback from growers, RGF developed this air treatment system to provide continuous protection in sensitive air spaces. The Element Air™ technology utilizes broad-spectrum, high-intensity UV lights targeted on a hydrated quad-metallic catalyst, which utilizes ambient moisture to generate hydro-peroxides and hydroxides that are propelled into the cultivation facility, to provide active microbial and odor mitigation. This atmosphere oxidizes contaminants in the air with friendly oxidizers, meaning that they revert back to oxygen and hydrogen. No chemical residue or dangerous compounds are emitted.
“We designed these new units using our core PHI treatment technology from our Food division, and literally created a totally new type of unit specifically tailored for the needs of their very unique application,” said Walter Ellis, executive vice president and general manager, RGF. “There is no other product on the market capable of treating not only the air that passes through it, but also the actual surfaces within the treated room.”
The tower has adjustable treatment capacities and is designed to emit zero visible light, allowing it to run 24/7. It can be ordered as a wall-mounted unit or a portable floor model. To further enhance the product, RGF is designing an integrated BACnet controller for use in larger facilities with building automation-driven requirements.
ProductMERV 16 & MERV 13 with Carbon Replacement Filters
Aprilaire took Bronze for its MERV 16 Replacement Filter and MERV 13 with Carbon Replacement Filter, which fit into currently installed Aprilaire air cleaners. As homeowners become more knowledgeable and interested in IAQ, largely driven by smart devices and apps, having an interchangeable part allows contractors to solve specific customer air cleaning requirements on a regular service or maintenance call, said Chris Chase, senior product manager for air cleaners, Aprilaire.
“It gives them the ability to sell up on the consumable part without really having to worry about the metal box that it goes in.”
The MERV 13 filters contain activated carbon for odor removal, which can help homeowners who struggle with pet and cooking odors. The MERV 16 filters are designed to remove the smallest of particles, something important to homeowners who suffer from allergies and asthma.
“Consumers are looking for enhanced filtration capabilities,” said Chase. “Our technology now has evolved to a point where we can reasonably develop a MERV 16 product … without having too much static in the system.”
Both filters feature Aprilaire’s patented filter design with Interlock Rail System and Self Seal Technology to eliminate filter bypass. The filters are collapsible, which minimizes damage on service vehicles, and they are designed for low system static and high dust-holding capacity. In the future, Aprilaire plans to explore additional filter sizes.