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Eurovent Middle East hosts seminar on air filtration and IAQ

Experts focus on new standards and best air filtration practices

| | Mar 29, 2018 | 12:16 pm
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L to R: Markus Lattner, Tobias Zimmer, Prasad Natraj, Dr Jason Shilliday and Dani Elamana

 Dubai, UAE, 29 March 2018: As part of its leadership workshop series, Eurovent Middle East hosted a seminar on air filtration and indoor air quality (IAQ) on March 26 in Dubai.

Industry insiders at the seminar highlighted the importance of filter selection, among other technical aspects, and shed light on the new ISO and Eurovent standards for air filtration systems.

Explaining the importance of air filters, Prasad Natraj, General Manager (Middle East), Air Filtration Products, AAF International, said air filters play a pivotal role in contributing to human comfort and health, while they create a sustainable environment and preserve the condition of different air-handling units (AHUs).

Several factors, like sand, smog and dust, he added, contribute to poor air quality, but the danger is the presence of particulate matter, which is below 50 microns and so can cause serious health issues. “To understand how contagious these microorganisms are, every 20 seconds, when bacteria breeds in a two-square-metre area, seven billion particles are preserved,” Natraj said.

He further explained that particles up to nine microns could be controlled from entering into the human body, but particulate matter measuring below nine microns can affect the human lung and enter the bloodstream. He added that the new ISO 16890 standard targets PM 1, PM 2.5, PM 10 size particles.

Speaking on the new standard for air filtration, Tobias Zimmer, Global Product Manager Comfort, Camfil (Germany), said: “Looking at the air filter standard situation today, we see that we have uniform products across the globe, but we do not have uniform standards. The new ISO 16890 is a new air filtration standard with global coverage. It brings about a significant harmonisation for the air filtration industry. The existing European EN779 would be valid until the end of June 2018.” Zimmer is also a member of the ISO Technical Committee 142 and contributor to the ISO 16890.

Highlighting the benefits of the ISO 16890, Zimmer said that the filter efficiency and classification are aligned with real-world air pollution. Being a global applicability standard, it eliminates all confusion, he added.

Explaining the difference between the two standards, Zimmer added that the ISO 16890 defines the filtration efficiency over a range of particle sizes (0.3 to 10 microns) rather than only one particle size (0.4 microns) of the EN799. Based on these tests, the classification relates to the results for PM 10, PM 2.5 and PM 1 microns.

Zimmer added the EN779 offers nine classes and ASHRAE offers 16 classes, but the ISO16890, in two steps, offers four filter groups – ePM 10, ePM 2.5, ePM 1 and coarse – which gives the precise efficiency of the chosen particulate size in 49 classes, so one can accurately address filtration issues.

Zimmer also shed light on a newly published code of good practice, Eurovent 4/23 (2017), which speaks on the selection of EN ISO 16890-rated air filter classes for general ventilation applications. “The document was developed by the Eurovent Product Group and was published on January 9, 2018,” he said.

The document, Zimmer said, merges theoretical and practical aspects of designing IAQ, regarding air filtration, and it provides hands-on and effective advice for HVAC planners and manufacturers of ventilation equipment to correctly design filtration systems.

Speaking on the principles behind IAQ design in hospitals, Dr Jason Shilliday, Sales Director, TROX Middle East, said that IAQ in a hospital involves minimising the levels of microorganisms in the air while ensuring the necessary air changes.

He added that the principles also call for maintaining stringent room conditions, limiting the concentration of various substances in occupied zones, ensuring a safe and hygienic environment and following standards and regulations for clean rooms in hospitals.

Dr Shilliday stressed that hospitals must maintain the right air pressures and airflow for each room, which includes the operation theatres, intensive-care units and laboratories.

Explaining the difference between the positive and negative air pressure, he said, for negative pressure, it extracts more air than what is supplied, and for positive pressure, it extracts less air than what is supplied.

Dr Shilliday further elaborated that while these principles are the baseline for IAQ design, it is also important to consider the layout of the room to ensure proper airflow throughout the room.

He added that MEP engineers must also look at the air change rates. He said: “The standard air change rate in a regular room is normally from four to 10 air changes. But in clean rooms and hospitals, higher air changes are needed, so there is a huge demand for the AHUs and cooling.”

Dani Elamana, Technical Manager, Camfil Middle East, spoke on Eurovent’s energy rating classification, which is Eurovent RS4C001 filter classification as per EN 779 2012.

Explaining the standard, Elamana said: “The thumb rule of energy consumed by a filter is almost 30% of the total energy consumed by an HVAC airside system. So if your building is receiving an energy bill of AED 100,000, 70% is from HVAC, and having the right filter can result in 20-25% savings.” He further recommended that users must look for the Eurovent certificate on each product.

Speaking on the sidelines of the workshop, Brian Suggitt, Chairman, Eurovent Middle East, said: “Based on the discussions and questions we have heard, it is obvious that the GCC region has a long way to go in understanding and implementing regulations concerning air filtration, IAQ and energy savings with the new nanotechnology.”

Markus Lattner, Director, Eurovent Middle East, added: “The responsibility lies with all of us, and we must enhance our communications with one another, because there appears to be a lack of coordination among manufacturers and the different stakeholders.

“We have had multiple meetings with different authorities, which have been received with high interest, but I believe it is the responsibility of the industry to implement the standards. If we wait for the authorities to find out that there is a need, and then try to identify a solution, it would be too late.”

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