The pandemic put a spotlight on just how important it is for commercial buildings, airports, sports venues, and other large public facilities to ensure safe indoor air quality.
Recently, new air quality standards from ASHRAE (new Standard 241) and others have been introduced to protect occupants more effectively from COVID-19 and other airborne pathogens. The most common way facilities approach these standards is by using air filters and HVAC systems to perform air changes by replacing the inside air with fresh outside air that is also filtered to capture contaminants.
Despite the popularity of this approach, it is neither efficient nor cost-effective in purifying air in a large space. The number of air changes per hour (ACH) needed to supply the amount of outside air required to achieve acceptable air quality is very high, which demands massive amounts of energy to pull in the outside air. Filters designed to efficiently capture airborne particles only exacerbate this issue: The more effective the filter, the harder the system works to push air through it.
The expense of air changes
Building codes typically specify how many ACHs are required to meet indoor air quality standards. This number can range from as low as 3 to as high as 25. The higher the number, the more strain that’s put on the HVAC system.
Adding to the strain are the filters. Industry guidelines recommend filters with a minimum efficiency reporting value (MERV) of 13 or higher. While these filters may efficiently remove many airborne particles, there’s a trade-off. The higher the MERV rating, the more difficult it is for air to flow through the HVAC system, therefore requiring much more energy to compensate for the increased airflow resistance.
The result? Energy bills go up while the life expectancy of the facility HVAC system goes down.
The fallacy of filters
Another major drawback of relying on air changes and filters for facility air purification is simply that it is just not effective on airborne pathogens. Filters are designed to capture particles of a certain minimum size—which means a lot of smaller, very harmful pathogens can slip through the cracks. Coronavirus is 0.12 microns—but standard HEPA filters only capture particles down to 0.30 microns, meaning Coronavirus (and many other harmful pathogens) can pass through.
And a common problem that many overlook, filters can actually worsen air quality if not changed frequently. The relative humidity in the air combined with the captured particles over time creates an environment that’s conducive to mold and fungus growing on filters and in air ducts.
In other words, filters can actually add contaminants into the air, completely defeating the purpose of delivering fresh air to the building’s occupants.
Replace filtration with purification and improve air quality while reducing costs
In recent years, public facilities have taken notice of an established air purification technology called LifeAire Systems, which takes a different approach to delivering air purity. Instead of relying on a filter to passively capture airborne particles, LifeAire’s patented technology uses a multi-staged purification approach to purify the air so completely that leading medical facilities around the world have chosen it to protect their patients in the most challenging environments.
Further, LifeAire Systems was designed to achieve this high level of air purification on a single pass, which means facilities can achieve significant energy savings by reducing the number of required air changes per hour while using a filter with a lower MERV rating.
And, since LifeAire does not require outside air to be effective in doing this, the resulting benefit to facilities is that they can save thousands of dollars each year in utility costs and significantly extend the life of their HVAC equipment.
With greater efficiency and reduced costs as key drivers, public facilities such as Lehigh Valley International Airport are now joining hospitals, IVF clinics, senior care facilities, and more in using LifeAire’s advanced air purification solution to ensure significantly cleaner air with minimal energy usage.
LifeAire’s purification technology is backed by study data proving its impact in real-world environments
LifeAire’s solution has been clinically proven in peer-reviewed studies conducted at hospitals and long-term care facilities to eradicate 99.99% of airborne pathogens and 96% of harmful surface pathogens in a single pass. The Mayo Clinic, Yale University, Stanford University, and other leading healthcare organizations rely on the technology to protect staff and patients.
The technology also meets the new ASHRAE Standard 241 for “Control of Infectious Aerosols”, the International WELL Building Institute (IWBI) WELL building standards for indoor air quality and qualifies for Commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy (C-PACE) funding.
Most interested facility staff and leadership upon learning of LifeAire want proof. If you and your team would like to see the data behind LifeAire and learn why this technology is quickly becoming the gold standard in air purification, please contact Dave Becattini at [email protected] to schedule a review and explore how LifeAire’s patented technology would potentially benefit your facility.