Want to purify the air in the office? There’s New Filtration Technology to Help
Building ventilation is not an easy subject to understand, nor one that we had to think about before the pandemic. But now, there are many variables to consider, especially when bringing employees back to the office. As we breathe and speak, we constantly emit respiratory aerosols which can accumulate internally unless diluted with air or cleaned. And most buildings are designed to meet a minimum standard that was never intended to protect against infectious diseases like Covid-19.
But the next generation of sensors, ionizers and ultraviolet technologies can do this job.
What you need today largely depends on the type of office space you have. Before repairing or upgrading anything, contact your building manager or hire a mechanical engineer to better understand your current system and what upgrades are possible, said Dr. Joseph Allen, director of the Healthy program. Buildings and Associate Professor at Harvard’s TH Chan School of Public. Health, told Inc.. You should also familiarize yourself with industry standards, which are regulated by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE), an association that helps to define specifications and guidelines for good building engineering practices.
For some, clearing the air in the office is as simple as opening a few windows. For others, such as those in large commercial buildings where this is not possible, it is a little more complicated. Industrial environments should also be equipped with heavy-duty and superior industrial filtration systems to improve the air quality in the work area. Fortunately, if you’re looking for a more inventive solution, there are plenty of options, thanks in part to investments in the industry. A study published by Global Industry Analysts, a market research firm, estimates that the global industrial filtration market will reach $39.2 billion by 2026.
Here are some of the latest innovations.
People increasingly want to know the air condition in their workplace and real-time sensors do just that. Sensors can monitor the air and measure the performance of your air purification systems in real time. Not only do they alert you to any contaminants via software on your computer or phone, but they automatically adjust to optimize air quality. This is crucial because the contaminants in any space fluctuate as people move around the office.
“Someone can walk into a room, drag their feet on a carpet, and shoot thousands of particles into the air. So a dynamic system or an adjustable system can actually see the level of air quality, read it through sensors and then adjust its output when needed,” says Tony Abate, vice president and chief technical officer of Clean Air Group, a Connecticut-based commercial and industrial indoor air purification company.
The best part of the sensors is that they easily adapt to existing HVAC systems. You place one unit near the air supply before it is filtered, then another outside the filter after it is cleaned. A basic tabletop monitor from Temtop costs $90 on Amazon. At the higher end is Infogrid, a company working to make buildings smarter using hardware and software technology. Infogrid offers a system that costs about $1,200 per year for a three-year contract for a 10,000 square foot office. It includes sensors and software technology that actively monitor the air quality in your building.
If you are in a pristine environment away from pollution and man-made emissions, the ions in the air, which create negative ions using electricity and then release them into the air, are naturally quite abundant. In areas with high air pollution, such as many large and medium cities, these ions have been removed by pollution. Bipolar ionization returns ions to the air. And at higher levels, it can fight contaminants and break down gaseous elements, essentially cleaning the air.
Although the technology has been around since the 1970s, it has recently been reinvented to fit into existing buildings. As with any emerging technology, there is little research available outside of laboratory testing, and bipolar ionization has the potential to generate ozone and other potentially harmful by-products indoors unless ‘It is not maintained at certain levels, explains Jesse Kroll, professor of civil and environmental and chemical engineering. engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. So be sure to use one that is certified by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
UV-C Air Purifiers
Another emerging tool is ultraviolet-C or UV-C light. The short wavelengths of UV-C can disrupt DNA chemical molecules, allowing them to effectively inactivate viruses and bacteria. Due to the harmful effects of UV light on the skin, you cannot blast it in the office. This type of technology is ideal for large industrial spaces where it can be filtered through ceiling fans, which push air up and away from workers before light reaches it. “It really is the safest way to use it,” Kroll notes.