Air Media Magazine, Fall 2015
By Alan C. Veeck, CAFS, NCT II, Retired

The National Air Filtration Association has announced its recipients of the Clean Air Awards for 2015. The Clean Air Award is presented each year to the building owners and managers that take steps to significantly improve the quality of their indoor air by increasing the level or efficiency of their HVAC air filtration system in 10 specific categories.

Candidates are nominated by both NAFA members and members of the facility management community for the award, and must submit detailed and specific steps taken towards cleaning the indoor environment through better air filtration and system hygiene. A NAFA Certified Air Filter Specialist confirms these improvements. Awards are judged by the NAFA Clean Air Award Committee and each recipient receives a custom designed trophy, building signage and recognition for their efforts.

3050 Post Oak Blvd.

Ted Messlein, Engineering Manager of Hines Interest’s 3050 Post Oak Blvd, Houston, TX utilized the knowledge and experience of Phil Maybee, CAFS of The Filter Man, to correct an issue of low efficiency filters installed in systems designed for high velocity and high efficiency filtration. Dirt entering the facility and, not being filtered, ended up on cooling coils and interior surfaces. Efforts were undertaken to clean all parts of the systems to acceptable standards and properly sized air filtration was designed and installed to handle airflow and contaminant removal. MERV 13 4” minipleat filters were installed with 0.30 inches w.g. and appropriate sheave and speed adjustments were made to the equipment. The upgraded housings were correctly gasketed and pressure measuring devices were installed at every unit. It is estimated that several years life in service and operating performance can be anticipated with these filters.

Bentall – Kennedy 777 Hornby

Bentall-Kennedy continues to be in the forefront of sustainable property management and has been active in many innovative programs in this category. Constructed in 1969, 777 Hornby, Vancouver, BC is in the heart of downtown Vancouver’s business district. Working with NAFA Member Ray Riopel, CAFS, of Pacific Air Filter, Dan Gold, Building Engineer and John Maclean, P Eng. for 777 Hornby increased to MERV 12 efficiency for their air filter system, replaced pressure gauges for more accurate determination of change cycles, replaced all worn and missing gaskets to seal filter in place for no air bypass, and implemented a filter change recording system. In addition, Dan Gold studied for and passed the NAFA Certified Technician (NCT) Exam. Congratulations to Mr. Gold on this accreditation and for his work in upgrading 777 Hornby.

H & R REIT – The Bow Building

The Bow Building is located at 500 Centre Street in Calgary, AB was constructed in 2012 and has 58 floors and 2,024,182 square feet of multi-use space, including parking and retail. Chief Engineer for The Bow Building, J P Nadeau used the expertise of Joanne McHugh, CAFS of B.G.E. – The Filter Shop to help reduce energy costs and improve air filter replacement schedules. The upgrade to 4” minipleat rigid filters with 105 square feet of media in each filter reduced the system pressure and allowed for the addition of activated carbon filters to remove odors in the building resulting from a food court operation. Gasketing was replaced to assure no air bypass and system pressure gauges were recalibrated to assure proper filter change schedules. The addition of carbon filtration has alleviated the issue of odor in the building.

Cadillac-Fairview/Pacific Centre Complex – 777 Dunsmuir

Pacific Centre Complex consists of seven high profile commercial and retail properties in the heart of downtown Vancouver, BC. Building began in 1972 with construction of the TD Tower. Tower #4 at 777 Dunsmuir is a Class AAA building with 19 floors totaling some 284,000 square feet of space. Cadillac-Fairview adopted a philosophy of utilizing “best practices” regarding environmental sustainability resulting in several awards for these buildings. Three of the towers have already attained NAFA Clean Air Awards and we add this building to the list. Tom Paulich, Operations Manager for 777 Dunsmuir worked with Ray Riopel, CAFS of Pacific Air Filter to upgrade all final filters to MERV 13, and prefilters were upgraded from MERV 6 to MERV 8 high capacity pleated filters. Air handlers on each floor were upgraded to MERV 8 high capacity pleated filters and all gasketing and seals were replaced as necessary to assure an air-tight seal of the filters. Pressure gauges were either replaced or modified to working order for proper filter replacement cycles. Cadillac-Fairview plans to continue to upgrade each of the nine towers in the complex to attain the Clean Air Award for all.

Camosun College – Fisher Building

Camosun College is located in Victoria, BC and its two campuses serve over 16,000 students and continuing education programs. With over 50 buildings and one million plus square feet located on a 250 acres campus, Brian Calvert, Associate Director of Facilities, and Dale Biggan, Maintenance Supervisor, have a challenge to keep good indoor air for enhanced health, comfort and productivity for students and faculty. Working with NAFA Member Ray Riopel, CAFS, they started with the Fisher Building, Calvert and Biggan have upgraded final filters to MERV 13, removed and replaced old and worn filter frames and replaced gasketing with new closed-cell neoprene gasketing, initiated scheduled cleaning of duct plenums and louvers, completed coil cleaning, and have installed pressure gauges for accurate determination of filter change intervals. In addition, they have retained Ray to help in annual reviews and assessments for other systems. This conscientious approach to cleaner indoor air is worthy of NAFA’s Clean Air Award.

Chase Tower

Chase Tower, Detroit, MI is a high-rise 14-story office building constructed in 1959. With over 500,000 square feet of space, the building was completely remodeled by 2015. Bedrock Management’s John Walker, Jr., Assistant Director of Maintenance coordinated with NAFA Member Jeff Williams, CAFS of Aero Filter, Inc., to upgrade the air filtration system. MERV 8 filters are utilized in single-bank systems and MERV 13 final filters in two-bank systems, in combination with new energy management controls the upgrade provides the perimeter VAV distribution systems with cleaner air and reduced pressure for increased energy consumption. In addition, Mr. Walker received the NAFA Certified Technician (NCT) accreditation.

Commerce Place

Commerce Place, located at 10155 102nd St. in Edmonton, AB, was constructed in 1990 and is a 27-story 720,000 square foot Class AAA Office and retail building that holds LEED Gold and BOMA BEST Level 3 awards. Realty Advisors’ Rod Murray, Operations Manager worked with NAFA Member Doug Edwards and Guy Chauvet, CAFS of B.G.E. Service and Supply, LTD. to raise the levels of air cleanliness in the building. NAFA Certified Technicians replaced the prefilter and final filter gaskets and sealed the system leaks, then installed MERV 8 and MERV 13 pocket filters respectively and all filter holding devices were replaced. All pressure gauges were recalibrated and used filters were taken back to B.G.E to recycle metal parts. Results included a new record for all work accomplished and filter records were updated for maintenance staff.

DMC Children’s Hospital of Michigan

Children’s Hospital of Michigan has provided the highest quality of pediatric care in a family-focused environment. DMC is also recognized by U.S. News and World Report as one of the nation’s top pediatric hospitals for cancer. In 2014, David Leib, Director of Facilities, and Patrick Manghum, Lead HVAC Supervisor for Children’s Hospital began working with Larry Krass, CAFS, of Koch Filter Corporation to map a plan for upgrades to their system. Beginning with easy items such as removal and replacement of gaskets and sealing ductwork leaks and replacing non-functional pressure gauges, larger items were initiated such as upgrading MERV 8 to MERV 11 prefilters and replacement of traditional pocket filters with more durable and lower pressure MERV 14 minipleat v-cell filters. This resulted in better airflow and reduced energy consumption which was documented and recorded at approximately $3,100 per year. Children’s Hospital also utilizes a scheduled maintenance program of coil and duct cleaning and has ultraviolet germicidal technology installed in the system. All of these system upgrades and efficiency increases makes them eligible for the NAFA Clean Air Award.

Dream Office Management Corporation – 444 7th

Dream Office Management, Calgary, AB and Senior Building Operator, Dritan Baxhaku, NCT, worked with NAFA Member Sharon Needham, CAFS of B.G.E. – The Filter Shop to assist Mr. Baxhaku earn his NAFA Certified Technician accreditation, and to upgrade the air quality in their building. Final filter upgrade to MERV 13 minipleat v-cell filters helped to significantly extend the life of the final filters and lower the pressure in the system for energy savings. In addition, 444 Seventh has retained the services of B.G.E. – The Filter Shop NCT Technicians to change their filters on a pressure-designated time frame.

Dream Office Management Corporation – 606 4th

A massive renovation of the air filter system was initiated at Dream Management, Calgary, AB by NAFA Member Sharon Needham, CAFS of B.G.E. – The Filter Shop, and Harry Ballach, Senior Building Operator. Removal of an antiquated agglomerator air filter roll system that was 14 feet high and 24 feet wide resulted in over a ton of metal that was all recycled from the system. B.G.E. service personnel installed front-access holding frames in the space and installed MERV 8 prefilters and MERV 13 minipleat v-cell final filters. This renovation resulted in higher efficiency filtration of the indoor air with decreased energy cost. Ms. Needham also assisted Mr. Ballach in the achievement of his NAFA Certified Technician (NCT) accreditation. Congratulations to Dream Management on this outstanding air filter renovation and the Clean Air Award.

Elbow River Casino

NAFA Member Christine Groulx, CAFS, NCT II of ProMain Air Systems, Ltd., provided air filtration recommendations to the Elbow River Casino, Calgary, AB, which experiences the challenges of weather, pollen infiltration, smoking permitted areas, and a yearly influx of high traffic due to Calgary Flames Hockey events and numerous concerts at Saddledome. Partnering with Epic Building Services, ProMain worked with Ward Perrault, Facility Manager of Elbow River to completely upgrade the air filter system and overcome some of the systemic issues created by the above mentioned challenges. Installing a new reinforced pleated MERV 10 prefilter with increased cycles of change and upgrading to MERV 14 minipleat v-cell filters provided the needed solution to the challenges. In addition, ProMain introduced preventive maintenance coil cleaning and filter change schedules to eliminate costly equipment maintenance problems. All of the changes have helped minimize the HVAC system issues and Elbow River is thrilled with the solution.

Federal Reserve Building

Bedrock Management, Detroit, MI, The Federal Reserve Building built in 1927 is a landmark facility listed as part of the National Register of Historic Places. Historic buildings always present a challenge for renovation and reconstruction. Purchased in 2013, Bedrock Management began an immediate renovation that involved complete replacement of the HVAC system, restoration of original two-story windows and distinctive entry features along with two vintage bank vaults retained as part of the décor. VRV systems utilizing 53 heat pump units were installed and Bedrock’s Assistant Director of Maintenance, John Walker, Jr., NCT, worked with NAFA Member Jeff William, CAFS of Aero Filter to install MERV 8 prefiltration and MERV 11 final filters. In addition, Mr. Walker studied and took the NAFA international NCT exam to achieve his accreditation. Congratulations to Mr. Walker and Bedrock for outstanding accomplishments in this historic restoration and indoor air quality achievement with increased levels of air filtration.

Firelands Regional Medical Center

Over the last 24 months, Firelands’ Director of Operations in Sandusky, OH, Darrell Boling worked with NAFA Member Larry Krass of Koch Filter Corporation to enhance the air filter system in the hospital. The renovation began with the removal of a non-functional hybrid electronic agglomeration system; replaced with MERV 14 & MERV 15 minipleat v-cell filters. Prefilters were also upgraded from MERV 8 to MERV 11 to increase the filter life of the final filters and reduce the energy consumption and replacement costs. Predictive maintenance filter change schedules were initiated as was the installation of ultraviolet germicidal irradiation fixtures in several units that were critical to infection control. Gasketing and functional filter gauges are installed in all units. These retrofits and upgrades provide cleaner indoor environments for Firelands and the earning of the NAFA Clean Air Award.

Greenspoint Place, Buildings 1 – 6

Greenspoint, Houston, TX is a collection of six independently operated facilities combined to make one large office complex. As part of the LEED certification process, inspections revealed the need to upgrade and replace the aging air filtration system. NAFA Member Phil Maybee, CAFS of The Filter Man worked with Robin Obaugh, VP Engineering for Hines Interest to replace aging, abraded filter plenums that compromised fibrous insulation. These were all removed and replaced with up-to-date materials. Fan sections and coils that were damaged were replaced where necessary and all surfaces that had deteriorated from water damage or wear and tear were replaced. Air filter housings were fabricated to assure proper sizing and retrofitted with front-loading filter frames with gasketing, sealing was completed to prevent air bypass. Finally, MERV 13 minipleat air filters were installed along with new pressure measuring equipment for proper maintenance and change schedules. The Filter Man provided staff with a Maintenance Guideline to provide optimum performance with the longest service life. Multi-year service is anticipated from the filters for the upgrades made.

Grey Eagle Resort & Casino

Grey Eagle Resort & Casino is one of Calgary, Alberta’s newest entertainment destinations located on the Tsuu T’ina First Nation in Canada. The 4-Star resort has state-of-the-art meeting and convention space along with fitness and spa centers and offers entertainment for all ages. Christine Groulx, CAFS, NCT II of ProMain Air Systems Ltd. has worked with Jack Mininfie, Facilities Manager of Grey Eagle for over 10 years and has initiated a filter service contract with upgraded reduced pressure drop MERV 10 high capacity pleated filters with polyester blankets which are installed during months of high precipitation. In addition, final filters were upgraded to MERV 14 minipleat v-cell filters. Using the NAFA energy saving calculation, this upgrade should reduce Grey Eagle energy consumption by $5,722.00 per year. All filter pressure monitoring devices were recalibrated and gaskets were installed with all filters to prevent air bypass.

Harry Hays Building

Sean Jacobs, Operations Manager and Class 4 Power Engineer for Maple Leaf, Calgary, AB worked with NAFA Member Christine Groulx, CAFS, NCT II, of ProMain Systems, Ltd. to improve the indoor environment with upgraded air filtration. Issues were being encountered because of the variable frequency drive (VFD) operating system and the pocket filters. Upgraded MERV 13 rigid pocket filters were installed. These filters are designed to handle the variable volume, coil cleaning and filter change schedules to assure a higher efficiency of filtration with a cleaner lower pressure drop system.

Metropolis at Metrotown & Metrotowers

Located within the Vancouver Lower Mainland, Metro Properties is committed to environmental sustainability and have initiated BOMA BEST and LEED Platinum certifications for their buildings. Metro Properties is comprised of 3 office towers and a retail complex known as Metropolis at Metrotown. With a combined indoor area of 2.8 million square feet, the complex is a central landmark to the City of Burnaby. Under the direction of Herman Achterholt, Operations Manager for Ivanhoe Cambridge and working with B.G.E. Service and Supply’s Brad Behiel, CAFS and Sr. Account Manager for B.G.E., a complete filter retrofit was initiated. Old filter banks were removed and sent to a local metal recycle to minimize environmental impact. MERV 13 filters were removed and MERV 8 prefilters and MERV 14 and 15 final filters were installed to improve air quality. Filter gasketing and new filter holding devices were installed along with a program to install/recalibrate pressure gauges throughout.

Plaza 1000

Triovest Realty Advisors demands results and their emphasis on growth along with sustainability is top priority for them. Plaza 1000, Calgary, AB is a 10-story building with a state-of-the-art mechanical system including an individually-controlled floor distribution system. Christine Groulx, CAFS, NCT II, of ProMain Air Systems, Ltd., worked with Renee Gregorio, Senior Building Operator for Plaza 1000 to address issues and recommend improvements. Retrofits to filter banks were recommended and completed by ProMain. MERV 10 high capacity pleated prefilters and MERV 13 pocket final filters were installed resulting in lower pressure in the system for increased efficiency and reduced operating costs. Coils were cleaned and other system upgrades were completed to qualify Plaza 1000 for the Clean Air Award.

Saint David’s

South Austin Medical Center
The original medical center opened in 1982 in Austin, TX and has been expanded over the years to greater than 400,000 square feet. Carl Craddock, Director of Facilities used the expertise of NAFA Member Nathan Wittman, CAFS of Filter Technology Company to increase the level of indoor air quality at St. David’s. Filter efficiencies were upgraded to MERV 8 prefilters and MERV 15A and 16A final filters in non-HEPA filtered areas. Gasketing was installed throughout the system including gasketing replacement on filter bank doors. Ultraviolet germicidal irradiation lamps were installed in all units and pressure gauges were installed for proper filter maintenance change schedules. All filters are installed and maintained by Filter Technology Company NCT certified personnel. Regular and detailed air filter training seminars are held for St. David’s HVAC personnel were the latest technology and applications are discussed.

Select Specialty Hospital

A NAFA Member since 1982, Tom Riddell, CAFS, NCT II of Air Filter Sales and Service (AFSS) in Jackson, Mississippi, teamed with Gary Touchton, Director of Plant Operations and Chandler Ewing, CEO of Select Specialty Hospital to correct an indoor air quality issue. Select Specialty Hospital is a 53-bed extended care facility that helps extremely critical patients who have been transferred from other medical facilities. The facility was experiencing extreme moisture in the HVAC system which resulted in high spore counts in the building. Improper and inadequate coil cleaning was determined to be the problem and AFSS installed ultraviolet germicidal irradiation (UVGI) equipment to supplement the MERV 8 prefilters and MERV 15 final filters. The UVGI equipment shines light in the ultraviolet spectrum completely within the coils to kill biofilm, bacteria and mold on surfaces and deep within the coil. This solution removed the moisture from the system and eliminated the problem. All pressure gauges were refurbished and a planned air filter maintenance program was established with AFSS utilizing NAFA Certified Technicians.

SouthLand Park, Buildings I – IV

The SouthLand suburban office centre complex is one of Calgary Alberta’s largest premier office parks owned by Morguard Investments, Ltd., and was built in 1978, 1980, 1981 and 2008 respectively. The campus has a combined 882,000 square feet of multi-tenant office space. Each building has a different HVAC system and, working with Sharon Needham, CAFS Account Manager of B.G.E. – The Filter Shop, Lindsay Gavel and Eric Poirier, Operations Supervisors of SouthLand were looking for ways to improve the air quality in each building.

Building I had issues with pocket filters that did not inflate properly during operation causing ruptures in the filter pockets. A change and upgrade to MERV 13 rigid cell filters increased the square footage of filter area from 42 to 90, lowering pressure in the system and increasing the life-in-service of the filters.

Building II presented an opportunity to upgrade filtration to MERV 8 prefilters and MERV 13 final filters, matching the filter efficiencies in the other buildings.

Building III had a filter bank that allowed for an upgrade from pocket filters to MERV 13 minipleat v-cell filters, increasing the filtering surface area from 46 to 130 square feet of media. This allowed for a decrease in system pressure from the filters of 0.50” w.g. to 0.22” w.g. resulting in energy savings and long filter service life. Building IV also upgraded to MERV 13 minipleat v-cell filters with a corresponding decrease in system pressure and longer filter service life.

In all buildings, gasketing was removed and replaced where necessary, and system pressure measuring devices were recalibrated. An accurate air filter maintenance service log is kept on units in the complex.

The University of Kansas

Medical Center Bioscience and Technology Business Center Breidenthal Building
The University of Kansas Medical Center is a non-profit academic institution and is the region’s only nationally verified Level I Trauma Center. The Breidenthal Bioscience & Technology Business Center, Kansas City, UT is a unique business incubator that helps promote innovation, entrepreneurship, and commercialization of university research. Robb Palmer, North Zone Manager along with Eric Johnson, Facilities Specialist worked with NAFA Member Dick Ballard, CAFS of Koch Filter Corporation to increase the indoor air quality by upgrading their filter system to MERV 15 minipleat v-cell filters. This upgrade not only increased the filter efficiency for contaminant removal but allowed for a lowering of the system pressure resulting in significant energy savings. Gasketing was removed and replaced to eliminate air bypass and pressure monitoring devices were installed and recalibrated and accurate filter change schedules were initiated. In addition, activated carbon filters were installed in areas that were experiencing an odor issue from research work being performed. This addition corrected the odor problem.

Wells Fargo Advisors

The Wells Fargo Advisors building operated by CBRE, St Louis, MI set a goal of operational savings by reducing filter changes, shipping and inventory costs, and energy savings for their VFD HVAC systems, after a recent building addition and renovation which increased their building capacity to 2.3 million square feet. Working with Joe Dardis, CAFS of 3M Purification, Gary Tappella, Lead Building Engineer for the facility, replaced the existing filters which were changed every 90 days and rigid box filters that were changed 1-2 times per year, with MERV 12 minipleat v-cell filters. This change allows for increased filter surface area resulting in system pressure reduction for energy savings and longer in-service filter performance. Gasketing incorporated on each filter eliminated air bypass and reduced particle counts downstream. Results from the upgrade are a reduction in system pressure for energy savings, filter service life now exceeding 12 months which reduced inventory and shipping costs, and higher levels of contaminant removal with the MERV 12 filters. Dardis is continuing to monitor the system pressure and particle counts so that correct filter change schedules can be established.

Williams Tower

Williams Tower, Houston, TX is a Hines Interest property with 64 floors and over 1.4 million square feet of multi-use space. With an eye to LEED accreditation, Williams Tower’s Mike Taylor, III called upon the service of Phil Maybee, CAFS of The Filter Man to accomplish the goal. First identified were deficient filtration and gasketing on most all units along with poorly designed sealing methods for the filters. Because of this, high pressure developed in the system over several years and coil replacement had to be undertaken. Filter plenum insulation had deteriorated and this was replaced with new insulation. Filter efficiency was upgraded to 4” MERV 13 minipleat and v-cell filters to negate coil and indoor air contamination and gasketing and filter holding devices were replaced. Staff training was also completed by Phil Maybee. Pressure gauges have been installed/replaced and an ultraviolet germicidal irradiation system has been installed for control of bacterial odors from a sump system located in the basement. A filter maintenance guide has replaced the filter change schedule which had been previously done on a time basis. Finally, an operations contract for filter service was completed using NAFA Certified Technicians for service.


The Winter 2015 issue of Air Media will feature an in depth article, focussing on a few of the 2015 Clean Air Award Recipients, authored by Jim Rosenthal, CAFS, TEX-AIR Filters/Air Relief Technologies.