Creating Indoor Comfort with Better Air Quality

Brought to you by Johnson Controls-Hitachi Air Conditioning

As the world learns to live with COVID-19 and office workers start to return to the offices, the importance of indoor air quality is vital to create a better, more productive work environment. The year 2020 changed the way we think about our homes, offices, schools, shops and other private or public spaces that we share. With the development of the COVID-19 pandemic around the world, the way we socialise, work and utilise our free time has had to adapt. One of the most significant changes was the increase in the time people spend indoors. In 2019, it was already predicted that people spend an average of 90 per cent of their time indoors, and then we experienced national lockdowns, the shift to remote working, and self-quarantine recommendations. This resulted in an increased interest in indoor air quality (IAQ).

What is indoor air quality? 

The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) defines indoor air quality as: “the air quality within and around buildings and structures, especially as it relates to the health and comfort of building occupants”. With IAQ having health and comfort implications for occupants, home and business owners want to learn more about what influences poor IAQ and how to take better control of it. In nearly every indoor space imaginable there are chemicals, objects and furnishings that give off gases, also known as volatile organic compounds, or VOCs.

What causes poor indoor air quality?

There are many factors that contribute to poor IAQ, in enclosed spaces. There are gaseous pollutants and then particulate matter pollutants (PM). Both are equally as harmful in concentrated amounts: a build-up of carbon monoxide can lead to death within a short amount of time, and particulate matter like microscopic plastic fibres can enter the lungs and lead to health complications. The pandemic meant that habits changed and not only are we spending more time indoors and more time in one location, but fortunately there are ways to protect and improve IAQ wherever we are.

How is Indoor Air Quality Tested and Measured?

Measuring gas pollutants can be achieved by installing an indoor air quality tester, which offers real-time readings of the quality of the air around us and the concentration of moulds, humidity, volatile organic compounds or VOCs and other gases.

Many air quality testers will also have the ability to measure particulate matter in the atmosphere. As a standard, they are designed to detect two types of particulate matter; those that are 10 μm (microns) in diameter, which are likely cause irritation to the eyes, nose and throat but are too harmful to the lungs. Fine particulate matter that can easily enter the lungs and cause damage are measured at 2.5 μm (micron) in diameter. These fine particles can travel deeper into the lungs and even enter the bloodstream, especially when exposed to large concentrations over long periods.

How can technology help maintain good air quality?

Advanced Solutions by Hitachi Cooling & Heating: We specialise in efficient climate control solutions to help our customers manage and maintain exceptional comfort in the spaces they need to. Within our ranges, we have developed technologies that promote cleaner and healthier air.

Ventilation as Part of the Solution: Proper ventilation of the space is one of the easiest ways to improve the IAQ. By opening windows or using an air renewal system, indoor air is diluted with fresh, outdoor air. While there are many ways to reduce indoor air pollution, one of the ways is to use air conditioning system to keep humidity levels low and manage indoor temperatures, both of which can elevate the presence of gases and PMs. Air conditioners also feature specialised filters that can help improve IAQ, too, something which Hitachi Cooling & Heating offers with some of our models.

Wasabi Air Purifying Filter is a PM 2.5 filter that provides powerful antibacterial (*1), anti-allergen (*2), anti-mould (*3), and deodorising (*3) properties when combined with the Hitachi Cooling & Heating standard Stainless-Steel Pre-Filter (*4), and can remove up to 99 per cent of the most common bacteria, particulate matter and allergens, as well as bad odours.

UV Fresh emits shortwave ultraviolet light onto the filters from an internal LED, neutralising 99 per cent (*5) of bacteria trapped on the filter to keep the inside of your unit clean and reduce the risk of odours.

FrostWash™ minimises the amount of dust, mould and bacteria that build up on your air conditioner’s heat exchanger and reduces their presence inside your unit by up to 93 per cent (*6). It traps the dust and dirt that lands on the heat exchanger by freezing in moisture that’s generated during normal operation. The frost is then thawed and flushed hygienically out the unit, carrying the dust, mould and bacteria with it. Besides, through testing and research, this cleaning process was proven to successfully remove 99.9 per cent (*7) viruses.  Learn more about Introducing FrostWash™, Air Like Never Before – YouTube.

IAQ will be definitely one of the top criteria for the buildings. Improve the IAQ with air conditioners leads to the better comfort and better energy efficiency, and, perhaps to a better property value. To learn more about our ranges and products ^, visit our site to see how you can benefit from Hitachi Cooling & Heating.

*1 Wasabi Air Purifying Filter tested by University Putra Malaysia
*2 Wasabi Air Purifying Filter tested by International Medical University Malaysia
*3 Wasabi Air Purifying Filter tested by Nanopac Testing Lab
*4 Stainless Steel System tested by the Hitachi Environmental Test Laboratory
*5 UV Fresh tested by Japan Food Research Laboratories
*6 Used model: RAK-35RPE / RAC-35WPE Tested by Kitasato Research Center of Environmental Science. Test No. 2019_0154: Reduction effects of Bacteria and Mold were observed by operating FrostWash™ once
*7 Tested by Kitasato Research Centre for Enviromental Sciene. Test No. 2020_0386. Surpress Virus effect observation test by operating FrostWash™.
^ Product models & features may differ according to country.