Last month, I attended the 2016 International Air-Conditioning, Heating, Refrigerating Exposition (AHR Expo) in Orlando, Fla. By all accounts, it was a successful event. According to International Exposition Co., attendance was nearly 61,000—in spite of significant travel problems caused by Winter Storm Jonas—and included more than 300 first-time exhibitors. The attendees included a reported 9,410 international visitors, and more than a quarter (561 of 2,063) of the exhibitors were from outside of the United States. In the 20 or so years I’ve been attending the AHR Expo, I’ve seen a lot of changes (besides friends and colleagues retiring!), but the importance of the event to our industry has not diminished. In addition to getting a first look at a lot of new products, there is a plethora of educational opportunities—many of them free—including new-product/technology presentations, ASHRAE Learning Institute programs, and HVACR-related seminars.
There were some interesting new products being exhibited this year, including one I nearly missed: the Purealizer air purifier. The only reason I stopped at the Purealizer Industries booth was the sign showing the company is based in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Although I pride myself on knowing most of the HVACR- and energy-related manufacturers in South Florida, I did not recognize this company. After introducing myself to the staff, including Chief Executive Officer Mike Smith, I learned Purealizer is the manufacturer of a patent-pending germicidal troffer system. The recipient of an honorable mention in the Indoor Air Quality category of the 2016 AHR Expo Innovation Awards, Purealizer uses UV-C—ultraviolet light in the C-band—and photocatalytic oxidation to disinfect and eliminate pathogens (viruses and bacteria) and mold.
The device, which is designed to mount easily in a 2-ft-by-2-ft opening in a T-grid ceiling suspension system, passes indoor air at a slow velocity (~30 cfm) through a highly reflective reaction chamber containing a UV-C light source (LED). According to the manufacturer, Purealizer is capable of killing 99 percent of airborne pathogens on the first pass while consuming only 50 watts of power. Also, it incorporates a nano pre-particle filter and is intended to operate 24/7, providing continuous air disinfection without operator supervision or intervention. It has obvious value in reducing hospital-acquired infections, a subject about which I’ve been writing and speaking since 2010 and for which our firm provides pro bono assistance to hospitals wishing to self-implement continuous particle-monitoring strategies.