The Importance of Air Filtration
New to INGEAR, a blog series on how to impact the workplace.
Learn more about Improving Air Quality with specific measures such as Filtration, System Filters, Routine System Cleanings, Water Treatment, and UV-C/PHI. And in case you missed the webinar on Maximizing Indoor Air Quality with Air Force One, be sure to download it.
As commercial buildings begin coming back online and filling up with visitors and workers, the proper function of the building and especially the mechanical systems that keep people safe and comfortable require particular attention. This series will discuss the importance of mechanical systems and their maintenance to keep in mind as we start filling buildings again. The bulk will involve HVAC, we will also touch on water systems and the potential for UV sterilization of both air and surfaces.
Knowing that indoor air plays a major role in the health, safety, and productivity of the people inside, it is no surprise that indoor air quality (IAQ) is being seriously thought about as those buildings begin to reopen. HVAC systems in a building play an important role in the safety and quality makeup of that air and no aspect has a larger impact than filtration. Air filtration not only has the potential ability to remove viruses and other pathogens from the air, but also removes dirt, pollen and other particulates that can impact human health, comfort, and the longevity of the HVAC systems.
Building technology is improving and air sealing technology, typically to make buildings more energy efficient and less leaky are making it more important than ever to properly filter the air that is being recirculated through a building and the new air that is being brought in through mechanical means. Opening windows and allowing in “fresh” air is less often an option in most buildings. Filtration of the air is additionally important as many buildings now have more than one type of use, combining, offices, health clubs, restaurants or even just cooking areas for office staff. The blend of uses poses new challenges to properly cleaning the air.
Filtration, the removal of particulates and impurities from the air, can be looked at from two distinct perspectives. The type of system a building uses provides options and limitations. A whole building system with make-up are units, as found in large commercial office buildings, have the benefit of one central location to manage but a larger volume of air passing through and a greater distribution throughout the space if contaminants get in, while several smaller units like in hotel rooms or some retail locations have many more systems to filter with the multiplication of costs.
Along with system requirements, the building use also must be considered. Obviously, hospitals are an extreme example of air quality requirements and ways to address them, but other uses have their own needs. The level of contaminants that need to be filtered and the volume needed for incoming fresh air is very different in a lightly staffed office when compared to a full service restaurant.
Both the building use and HVAC and air handling systems play a role in deciding the most effective air filtration methods both for human health and comfort and the efficiency and maintenance of the HVAC equipment. In the next segment, we will discuss the opportunities HVAC systems provide for cleaning the air and the filter methods and limitations that exist.