David Munn (right) speaks to NAFA seminar attendees during a break from his session titled “Fundamentals of Indoor Air Quality.”
VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. — The National Air Filtration Association (NAFA) places a high priority on educating and updating its members on the importance of air filtration. Even as new concerns come to light, air filtration technology is constantly advancing. That is why individuals in the HVAC industry need to keep learning about new developments in the field in order to stay ahead of the game.

NAFA brought its educational mission to its 2003 Technical Seminar, held April 10-12 in Raleigh, N.C. Approximately 180 members of the association took part in a number of training sessions designed to remind them about the fundamentals of air filtration and keep them up to date on the evolution of the air filtration industry.

Karin Foarde from Research Triangle Institute (RTI) presents a seminar on ultraviolet light research. The session was one of many dealing with new technologies in ventilation and air filtration.

Educational Sessions

Harry Elinsky Jr., president of NAFA, and Jeff Holt, CAFS, the 2003 conference chairman, opened the three-day event by welcoming the members and telling them what they could expect. Two separate educational tracks were presented during the week. According to Elinsky, track one was reserved for those new to the industry and provided the “nuts and bolts” of air filtration. Track two was developed “for the old timers,” and it presented information on several new issues impacting the air filtration industry, as well as new products and updated standards.

Track one started off with a visit to the Research Triangle Institute (RTI). According to Elinsky, a group of 54 members visited RTI to listen to Jim Hanley, one of the developers of ASHRAE Standard 52.2. The standard provides guidelines for testing air filters, and RTI has the original test duct created for the standard. Visitors were able to see how filters are tested under Standard 52.2, and had the opportunity to listen to Hanley speak about the development and implementation of the standard.

The next day of track one was devoted to the “Principles of Filtration.” The daylong event took members through the basics of filtration. “Sometimes we forget that we have to remember the basics,” said Elinsky.

The sessions in track one were based on the publication NAFA Guide To Air Filtration. Elinsky said that each chapter of the guide was presented by a veteran in the air filtration industry.

NAFA members at the 2003 Technical Seminar had the opportunity to participate in a number of educational sessions.

Beyond The Basics

The program’s track two seminars started off with a presentation by Al Vatine, who educated members on paint filtration. Next, the NAFA Education Committee presented a session called “Technology of Clean Air.”

Track two was even more in-depth on day two. An update on ultraviolet (UV) lights and their effectiveness in maintaining indoor air quality (IAQ) was presented by Karin Foarde of RTI. According to Elinksy, the UV light session was just one presentation that dealt with new technologies in the field of air filtration and ventilation.

A session called “Air Cleaning Using Photo Catalytic Process” was presented the same day.

“The photo catalytic process has been around a while, but recently it’s become more popular,” said Elinsky.

Hanley also took time to speak to participants in track two. He informed the members about a new test dust that is being used for Standard 52.2. The final session for the day was “Bioscreen Media — New Technology for Gaseous Odor Removal.”

The final day of the technical seminars brought a whole new batch of informational sessions. A panel discussion was held to compare and contrast different types of filter media and determine the best filters for given applications. Foarde presented a new session on the last day called “Mold and Fungus — What’s the Latest Information?”

According to Elinsky, this session aimed to teach members not only about the latest developments in mold, but how air filtration can prevent mold issues. The session also helped to reinforce why installing and choosing the right air filters is so important.

“Life-Cycle Costing of Filtration” was presented on the same day and also aimed to inform members on how choosing the right air filter can impact the life of the system.

Attendees also had the opportunity to take the Certified Air Filter Specialist (CAFS) exam.

Testing Is The Answer

The NAFA technical program also provided members with the opportunity to get certified. Time was set aside during the final day of the event to conduct Certified Air Filter Specialist (CAFS) testing. The CAFS exam was specifically designed for those involved in the sales and service of air filtration products. It is based on theNAFA Guide to Air Filtration. According to Elinsky, the sessions were a perfect review for the exam.

“We have to know the basics of air filtration,” he said. “The purpose of NAFA is to educate this industry on the basics of air filtration.”

Elinsky also said that filtration has an enormous impact on HVAC systems and building occupants. That is why certification is necessary: to make sure that those who are in charge of providing filtration know the fundamental principles.

The organization also provides its NAFA Certified Technician (NCT) program. This certification program was also available during the event, but Elinsky said that the test is usually given on-site.

Unlike the CAFS exam, the NCT exam is focused more on those who will be changing and installing new air filters. The test is based on the NAFA Installation, Operation, and Maintenance of Air Filtration Systems manual.

According to Elinsky, the NCT program is perfect for anyone who deals with filters, especially facility managers and the employees of building owners. The exam must be administered by a CAFS.

Elinsky said that since Sept. 11, 2001, more individuals have become concerned with building safety and contamination through ventilation systems. The mold issue has further created awareness of air filtration.

The CAFS and NCT programs, according to Elinsky, can provide interested individuals with the information they need. He also believes certification is one of the most effective ways to ensure occupants and end users that the person responsible for a given filtration system knows what is needed to provide clean air.

Those at NAFA are confident in the organization’s certification programs, and their goal is to certify 2,000 individuals through the NCT program over the next three to four years.

For more information on NAFA and its certification programs, go to www.nafahq.org.

Sidebar: In Search Of Award-Winning Air

The National Air Filtration Association (NAFA) aims to educate the HVAC industry on the importance of proper air filtration and the need for clean air and healthy indoor air quality (IAQ).

What better way to educate the industry than to reward those who have been successful when it comes to implementing adequate air filtration in their buildings?

The organization has announced its NAFA 2003 Clean Air Award. According NAFA, the purpose is to recognize a facility, organization, or company for utilizing effective air filtration to maintain a clean indoor environment.

Winners will be judged on three criteria: due diligence in providing a clean and healthy indoor environment, the use of filtration technology, and the various results and benefits that have been gained through the implementation of proper air filtration.

“We want to honor buildings that have provided clean facilities on a consistent basis,” said Harry Elinsky Jr., president of NAFA.

For official rules and a nomination form, as well as case studies of previous winners, go to the NAFA Web site, www.nafahq.org.

Publication date: 05/12/2003