Where is the best place location and amount of air purifiers for optimal air quality?
The COVID-19 pandemic has created heightened awareness of the importance of air quality for our health. As employees return to the workplace, proactive businesses have sought to install air purification systems to provide healthier and safer spaces, often without knowing the correct type of air purifier to choose based on the coverage and proper location to place the unit in the room.
According to Anthony Scarff, managing director for Delos Australia, a leader in science-backed solutions for healthier indoor spaces, while many air purification systems are plug-and-play and can be independently located in any working space, unless the systems are a high MERV rating and installed as per space requirements, they may not achieve safe levels of air cleanliness.
“Properly installed, air purifiers can reduce the incidence of respiratory issues that may be caused by airborne pathogens and pollutants by removing the particles from the indoor air,” Scarff said.
“A significant amount of Australia’s population spend up to 20 hours a day or more indoors, between home, work, transport and indoor activities. Given this, it is easy to see why it is so important to address the quality of the indoor air we breathe.
“The visual sight of air purifiers can give a false sense of security. Business owners and managers should ensure that their air purifiers are placed appropriately and are capable of efficiently filtering the air, otherwise they are putting people at risk and also their business.”
There are several key factors that are important when considering air purifiers in work spaces, and Scarff has outlined his key tips on how many air purifiers are needed and where they should be placed.
How many air purifiers do I need?
“One of the top questions I get asked frequently is how many air purifiers are required in a given space to effectively clean the air,” Scarff said.
“To work this out, you need to know the size of the area in square metres that your air purifier is capable of cleaning.
“One metric for characterising the performance of air purifiers is the clean air delivery rate (CADR). It shows the amount of filtered air delivered by the unit, the higher the CADR, the more particles the system can filter and the larger the area it can service.
“Experts recommend five to six air exchanges per hour (ACH) in a given space, which can be achieved with a combination of passive ventilation and supplementary air cleaning by portable and in-duct air purifiers. For large spaces, multiple units can be used to achieve the recommended ACH.
Where should air purifiers be placed?
“Many air purifiers operate as portable, standalone units. They are simple plug-and-play,” Scarff said.
“The location of the unit is an important factor in its performance. Portable air purifiers should be placed close to where occupants spend their time in a room or space, so that they can supply clean air directly in the occupants’ breathing zone. It is also important to make sure that the air flow is not obstructed by other objects in the space (e.g, is not too close to furniture or curtains). Air purifiers should be positioned in a way so that their outlet air vents do not blow the air from one person to others.”
What type of air purifiers should you use?
“Not all air purifiers are the same. It is important to understand their components and how these impact their efficiency and effectiveness,” Scarff said.
“Single-pass efficiency of a filter is a measure of its ability to reduce the pollutant concentration in the air that passes through it. The most commonly used filter efficiency metric is MERV (minimum efficiency reporting value), which ranges from one to 16, and the higher the MERV rating, the higher the particle removal efficiency.
“Another air purification standard, HEPA (high efficiency particulate air), refers to air purification filters that can remove at least 99.97 percent of particles with a size of 0.3 microns. Particles that are larger or smaller than 0.3 microns are captured with an even higher efficiency. Delos Intellipure air purification systems feature technology tested to demonstrate 99.99 percent efficiency at capturing and removing particles down to 0.007 microns, which exceeds HEPA standard requirements for filtration efficiency.”
Purchase and install air purifiers with an expert
“Air purification is a special field of science and not all products are capable of removing airborne contaminants, especially bacteria and viruses. It is important to do your research and make sure that the products you purchase are effective, safe to use, and can actually deliver what they claim to be able to do, particularly when you are investing in something that is going to impact your health,” Scarff said.
“Engage the assistance of a specialist company to purchase and install the technology, to ensure the product is of the highest quality and appropriately located within your space for maximum impact.
“As Delos is a leader in wellness solutions for indoor environments, the solutions we offer have been rigorously reviewed and tested by Delos Labs.
“We want to help customers choose products that best fit their needs and advise on how the products should be used appropriately and safely for different use cases. We are able to provide recommendations around placement, size and product maintenance, all of which are essential when installing air purification systems.
“My strong advice when looking to invest in an air purification system is to choose a brand and company that provides the research and evidence to support their claims.
“Delos’ product review process is anchored by Delos Labs, a team of experts in building, behavioural and health sciences. Our process evaluates independent, third-party product testing results, applies evidence-based and data-driven research, and consults industry best-practices to select products that stand up to their claims on performance, safety, efficacy and user experience. Delos has selected best-in-class air purification technologies after carefully evaluating over 160 similar products.”
Delos is a wellness real estate and technology company guided by the mission to be the world’s leading catalyst for improving the health and well-being of people around the world by improving the indoor environments where they live, work, sleep, and play. Informed by more than ten years of research and rigorous analysis of environmental health impacts on people, Delos, and its subsidiaries offer an array of evidence-based technology and solutions for residential, commercial, and hospitality spaces. Delos is the founder of the WELL Building Standard™, the premier standard for buildings, interior spaces, and communities seeking to implement, validate, and measure features that support and advance human health and wellness. Its subsidiary, the International WELL Building Institute, administers and continues WELL’s development and drives market adoption. Delos’ advisory board is comprised of leading professionals across real estate, government policy, medicine, and sustainability. For more information about Delos, please visit delos.com.au.