RGF Environmental Group Inc. won the Gold award in the IAQ category for this year’s competition. Its all-new HALO-LED™ is an in-duct mounted, whole home air purification system that proactively treats every cubic inch of air conditioned space. The product has been in development for nine years, but RGF has been researching and developing chemical-free purification technology for more than 30 years.
The new patent pending technology is powered by low-energy, ultra-long-life LED light array utilizing an exclusive hybrid hydrophilic washable ceramic catalyst to provide indoor air purification. The product is mercury-free and zero ozone compliant. Usage reduces airborne and surface microbials, bacteria, viruses, mold, smoke, and VOCs. Leveraging bipolar ionization, the HALO-LED™ provides the added benefit of reducing airborne allergens, dust, and particulates.
“Combining REME-LED™ technology along with RGF’s proven PHI-CELL® technology, this product provides revolutionary indoor air purification,” said Walter Ellis, executive vice president and general manager at RGF Environmental Group. “RGF has been researching and developing UV LED-based treatment systems for many years. The technology has finally advanced to a point where usable UV LED output power and useable wavelengths have coincided to make this next generation of products possible.”
For the end user, this product has a long-life replaceable LED cell module that provides clean air. For the HVAC contractor and technician, the product features easy integration into existing residential HVAC systems and automatic self-cleaning bipolar ionizers with carbon fiber brushes to reduce particulate.
“The HALO-LED offers the technician an opportunity to increase profits while providing a chemical-free indoor air quality solution to their customer,” said Ellis. “Utilizing UV LED technology, which is mercury-free and highly energy efficient, a near ideal green product offering, provides the technicians with a very unique product to offer to their customers.”
RGF tested many different UV LED array geometries and wavelengths with specific catalytic designs to achieve the best treatment results. Driving currents were optimized to provide the longest possible diode life with the highest possible efficacy. The company then used its in-house 3-D printers and fiber laser to manufacture multiple prototypes for conceptual mockups and for actual lab and in-duct testing. Testing occurred first in RGF’s digital 3-D environment with computer modeling and analysis, followed by controlled physical testing in the wet lab on microbial samples and VOC’s of concern. Finally, prototype testing was conducted in RGF’s in-house ASHRAE test method-based HVAC testing apparatus.
“We then sent several prototypes to the top contractors around the country for installation, analysis and criticism,” said Ellis. “Based on this testing and feedback, we came up with the final design.”
Future plans for the HALO-LED include introducing this technology into other new products in the near future.
Aprilaire’s Filter Grille Air Cleaners take home Silver in this category. The product is designed to bring highly effective Aprilaire air cleaning to systems where the return is mounted on the ceiling for consumer access to filter replacement within the living space. This is the case in many markets in the South and West, where homes do not have basements and HVAC equipment is located in the attic. According to the company, these products provide a benefit to contractors in residential new construction markets.
Two years of design and research were invested by the company. The research was done primarily with contractor interviews in key new construction markets including Florida, the Carolinas, and California. From the interviews, the company realized that the primary issue was high system static and the subsequent callbacks to address the problem. The only alternative was to put additional filtered returns on the home’s HVAC system in an attempt to reduce static. This led to higher system install costs and relied on homeowners to change several filters of varying sizes throughout the house.
The research gave Aprilaire the insights needed to develop a contractor-friendly product that addressed their specific requirements. The filter comes in standard sizes for easy retrofit to existing 1-inch filter grilles and features a removable door for easy installation and filter changes. The addition of alignment blocks make it easy to replace filters and to keep the filter in place when the door is opened. All models use patented collapsible Aprilaire replacement filters — 610, 613, 810, and 813.
Taking Bronze, EnduraDuct’s patented design is a highly efficient outdoor ductwork system that is code compliant, including ASHRAE standards. This pre-insulated and cladded duct system provides true SMACNA standard duct construction with a non-turbulent metal interior along with a standard non-penetrating insulation and cladding connection system. The system is fully insulated, even at the connections, with no interior caulks or sealants to rely on, creating a long-lasting weather- and air-tight system. With R values ranging from R13 to R26, the outer coating will withstand and endure the elements while maintaining a professional looking leak-free, weatherproof outer shell. The product comes in a high load tolerance, heat-reflective white color, but is also available in custom colors to match end user rooflines. Multiple selectable internal materials are available based on application, including G-90 galvanized, aluminum, PVC-coated stainless steel, black iron, and more. EnduraDuct’s easy installation uses connections field installers are familiar with — TDC/TDF connections. Installers use VHB double-sided tape on the field inserts to hold them securely in place, allowing the field technician to caulk the seams with ease.
The company’s next mission is to utilize the patented designs and advanced coating technologies to solve problems and improve other industry products and designs. EnduraDuct is currently in the research and development phase to master spiral ducts with the same R values as its standard ducts.