The Value of Understanding Healthy Conditions
The ProcessLearn more about IAQ
Space environment is improved using ionization, Ultraviolet-C, good air flow, high quality air filtration, and performance feedback monitoring.
This focus is on germs and viruses within a distance of several feet between the source and victim. Transmitted infectious organisms are usually contained in the residual from evaporating moisture droplets called droplet nuclei. These particles are typically 5 microns or smaller. They tend to float in the air for hours or even days (for rooms with no circulating air) without falling to the floor.
Negative Air Ions (NAIs) attach themselves to droplet nuclei particles, dust, mold spores, and other allergens. Individual particulate matter tends to increase in size, because of ion attraction, such that they can be more readily captured in the space air stream and conducted to the air source (rooftop unit, furnace, air handler) where they can be trap in a high efficiency air filter and irradiated by ultraviolet light.
NAIs are known to deactivate viruses, bacteria and allergens when they cluster around these micro-particles. A chemical reaction occurs on the cell membrane causing the harmful substance to lose a hydrogen atom. This process inactivates the substance by severing the protein on the cell membrane, creating holes that destroy the entity. The result is water vapor which returns to the air. The process kills microbes without damaging their DNA and thereby not creating cancer.
As supply air enters the room it is conditioned with NAIs. These ions move throughout the room by following air flow patterns created by supply air diffusers and return air grills. Because ions are unstable and have a life spanning a few minutes, effective air movement within the space significantly improves their ability to reach micro-particles.
Ultraviolet - C
Some particles, such as dust, tend to fall onto the floor and space surfaces; especially plastic surfaces. They are cleaned using normal wiping techniques. Other particles continue with infectious molecules to the air source filter. Air filters with high efficiency ratings (MERV 8+) collect these particles where they can be irradiated with ultraviolet-C light. The use of ultraviolet-C light is medically known as an effective method to kill viruses.
Particulate matter (PM) is a major health pollutant, especially PM 2.5 (2.5 microns) size. Fine PM, such as PM1.0 and PM2.5, penetrate deeply into the lung, irritating and causing reduce lung function. Fine particles are minimized using ionization to create those that are larger and less penetrating. Such particles tend to deposit or precipitate more rapidly on nearby surfaces, sink faster, or more readily become captured in the space air currents. Inhalable dust counts are significantly reduced as the result. PM concentration is known to have been reduced by 2 orders of magnitude (100x) with continuous ionization.
System effectiveness depends on installation effectiveness. Air supply (RTU, furnace, air handler) significantly impacts distribution effectiveness. Return air ability to pickup floating particles determines the ability to convey them to the system air filter. Higher efficiency air filters capture more particles for irradiation and reduce infectious particle circulation.
Indoor air quality (IAQ) is measurable using temperature, humidity, volatile organic compounds( VOCs), and especially fine particulate (PM) sizes. Monitoring is most effective when data is captured over long time spans - even several years - for in-depth analysis and comparison of equipment performance. Data values outside normal limits generate alerts for inspections, cleaning, and recalibration.
First line defense begins with HVAC equipment. Measuring performance ensures it delivers conditioned air as expected. An increase in outside air quantity allows for fresh air introduction to the space. Outside air is optimized using Demand Ventilation routines that automatically sense occupancy to dynamically adjust outside air and minimize energy usage. Individual compressors are tracked and analyzed for out-of-limits operating temperatures. Equipment operating problems are made available to management as alerts with corresponding action suggestions. Remote communications and graphical performance screens allow for quick professional analysis without traveling to the building.