Designing a Healthier and Energy-Efficient Air Distribution System

Water Filtration System

It is important to create and maintain a healthy indoor environment in building facilities, in order to improve indoor air quality. It’s commonly known that outdoor air pollution impacts health, but indoor air pollution also has negative health effects. Environmental Protection Agency studies have shown the harmful effects of human exposure to air pollutants and also indicate that indoor levels of pollutants may be two to five times higher than the level of pollutants outdoors.1 These increased levels of air pollutants indoors are concerning because we typically spend about ninety percent of our time indoors. Good indoor air quality contributes to a healthier environment for building occupants, better performance of staff and an environment of comfort, health and well-being. Controlling airborne pollutants requires introducing and distributing an adequate amount of outdoor air and maintaining comfortable indoor temperature and relative humidity levels. When we think of HVAC systems, we think of heating and cooling our home or office. Modern HVAC systems have been one of the major advances in science and are an integrated system that includes implementing, maintaining, and controlling temperature, humidification, ventilation, and filtration. Ultimately, HVAC systems should address affordable comfort and health. Because duct leakage, heat loss, and improper duct design are potential issues that can arise when it comes to air distribution systems. But proper ventilation, occupant comfort, elimination of indoor air quality hazards, reduced energy use, and functionality need to be taken into account as well when designing a healthier and more energy efficient air distribution system. With my invention, households, businesses and corporations will be able to easily integrate my device into their current HVAC system to help remove a higher level of impurities from the air to produce a healthier and more comfortable atmosphere. One issue that arises with air distribution is air quality, more specifically the recirculation of used air. When air is recirculated or recycled, some air is disposed of outdoors and replaced with fresh air while the remainder of the air inside the building is mixed with the new fresh air and is redistributed back into the building. When air is recirculated so are micro-organisms like bacteria and germs. In order to provide better filtration, I have come up with a device that will remove impurities from the air by aeration or forcing air through a device containing water. By forcing air through the device containing water, the air will be cleaned and filtered of impurities. Combining this air purification technique with increased levels of outdoor fresh air exchange will better improve the indoor air quality. Temperature and humidity are essential and cannot be overlooked because thermal comfort correlates with complaints about poor air quality. Temperature and humidity are also factors that affect indoor contaminant levels. Outdoor air sources also need to be considered since outdoor air enters buildings through windows, doors and ventilation systems allowing things like transportation and grounds maintenance activities to affect indoor pollutant levels as well as outdoor air quality. Proper heating, ventilation and air conditioning starts with system design. This includes an accurate evaluation and calculation of the heating and cooling requirements, air distribution systems and the necessary ventilation requirements of the home or building, as well as the various costs of the different types of systems available. Because ventilation is becoming an increasingly important requirement in construction, building spaces are becoming tighter due to modern construction techniques and energy codes aimed at improving energy efficiency. Whether you are constructing a new building or remodeling an existing one, there are a variety of system options to choose from depending on the building's design. Of course, the higher the energy efficiency rating of the system, the higher the upfront cost of the system. Although the air distribution portion of the equipment usually remains the same, the more efficient equipment costs more. There are several types of HVAC systems available in today’s marketplace. Split system cooling are systems that consist of an indoor cooling coil that is connected to an exterior mounted condensing unit and requires a separate source for heating. Standard air to air heat pump systems are one of the most popular types of air conditioning systems used. This is a split system that uses a reverse cycle for heating and cooling. Air to air heat pumps require a source of backup heat like an electric heat strip because the efficiency decreases as the air temperatures drop. Hybrid gas/heat pumps are an option that use a split heat pump system as well as a gas furnace. As the heat pump becomes less efficient, it shuts down and the gas furnace takes over. This is an efficient system that gives optimal comfort and lower energy bills. Mini-split ductless systems do not require ductwork. They can be floor, ceiling or wall mounted with one outdoor condensing unit serving multiple indoor units that provide zoning in separate areas. Ground source heat pumps use the grounds heat to regulate indoor temperatures. This is the most efficient type of HVAC system available. The earth’s ground temperature below six feet is about 60 degrees year around. Heat is transferred from the earth through a series of pipes installed underground and heats the building during colder months; this process is reversed in the warmer months. Indoor air quality is important for many reasons. Studies performed by the Environmental Protection Agency have consistently ranked indoor air pollution as top environmental risks to public health. Disregarding indoor air quality problems can increase long and short term health problems for building occupants and staff such as cough, eye irritation, headaches, allergic reactions, and life-threatening conditions such as Legionnaire’s disease and carbon monoxide poisoning. Poor indoor air quality has been known to aggravate asthma and other respiratory illnesses. Nearly eight percent of Americans, over twenty-five million, have asthma, which is the leading chronic disease in children. In 2013, about 13.8 million missed school days were reported due to asthma. 2 There is evidence that shows that exposure to indoor allergens like dust mites, pests and molds exacerbate the symptoms of asthma. These allergens, which are common in school and office buildings, are easily preventable. These problems impact staff sick leave, comfort and performance, and accelerate the deterioration and reduce the efficiency of the building’s physical plant and equipment, increase the potential for facilities maintenance, and create liability issues. Building occupants would greatly benefit from the integration of my air purification device into the buildings HVAC filtration system. There are many options to choose from when it comes to HVAC systems. There are also numerous products which are manufactured to help you create a healthier indoor environment such as programmable thermostats that allow you to control the temperature remotely. There are also numerous manufacturers of electronically controlled zoning systems that allow for the control of temperatures in individual areas using only one central air conditioning system. Efficient filtration systems are available for increased health and comfort. With my easy to install aerated filtration system homes, offices, and building occupants can rest assured that the air they are breathing has been double filtered to be at its cleanest recycled recirculated form. Many building envelopes are constructed so tightly for energy efficiency that outside air is required. The installation of a central, energy efficient ventilation unit can provide clean, fresh outside air while exhausting the stale inside air to the outdoors creating a healthier indoor environment. With the increase of stale exhausted air being expelled form the building, comes the need for increased influx of fresh outside air. By increasing the amount of outdoor air and filtering it as it comes into the building, we can increase the amount of recirculated air that is being used throughout the building. Proper maintenance is also critical for a healthy, energy efficient system. This not only helps maintain the efficiency of the system but will also increase the lifetime of the equipment, allowing for continued use throughout the life span of the investment. Changing filters on a regular basis, inspecting electrical components, and proper cleaning all contribute to the longevity of an HVAC system and help to produce a healthy working and living environment. Fans and other mechanisms should be checked to make sure they are in proper working condition and all major components should be inspected and cleaned. Professional maintenance and cleaning are essential to maintain an efficient operating system. The amount of impurities in recycled, recirculated air can be easily cut down by implementing an extra level of filtration. Although this addition may be expensive initially, the benefits of breathing cleaner more pure air will far outweigh the negative health effects of breathing dry recirculated air. With the simple addition of my aeration filtration system to any current HVAC system the health and comfort of home, school, and building occupants will be greatly increased. References: [1] Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, AAFA.org https://www.aafa.org/asthma-facts/ [2] Zahran, H., Bailey, C., Damon, S., Garbe, P. and Breysse, P. (2018). Vital Signs: Asthma in Children — United States, 2001–2016. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.15585/mmwr.mm6705e1. [3] HVAC Water Filtration, EVOQUA.com https://www.evoqua.com/en/brands/vortisand/Pages/hvac-water-filtration.aspx

Tags

Voting

0 votes
Idea No. 304