Air Media Magazine, Winter 2016
By Jim Rosenthal, CAFS, Tex-Air Filters
One of the best programs of the National Air Filtration Association (NAFA) is the Clean Air Award. It gives the NAFA member the opportunity to help recognize a customer who is interested in providing the best filtration and the best indoor air quality for their building. Furthermore, it promotes good filtration practices and training of individuals involved in air filter selection and installation.
For the past 5 years Gerald Festian, CAFS from Aerofilter, Mark Mattingly, CAFS from Koch Filter and I have served as the Clean Air Award Committee. We have reviewed every application during that time. Terry Driscoll of the NAFA office has played a major role in this process by receiving all applications and ensuring that supporting documentation is included before passing them on to the Clean Air Award Committee.
In 2015 a total of 32 nominations were approved for a Clean Air Award. These nominations came from all over the United States and Canada. The nomination form is set-up to award points for various aspects of the air filtration and maintenance of a building to provide “clean air.” A review of these nomination forms gives us insight into some of the more significant trends in the air filtration industry. Here are some of the more important points:
1. Air filtration efficiency in buildings continues to increase.
Of the 32 nominations, 31 used MERV 13 filters or above. One used MERV 11. The benefits of higher efficiency filtration is becoming more important to building owners and managers. The minimum requirement for the Clean Air Award is a MERV 8. Just a few years ago a good percentage of the nominees used this minimum.
2. Good air filtration practices are more widespread.
Three of the point categories on the nomination form deal with good filtration practices – a. Gaskets, b. Filter Monitoring Devices (pressure gauges) and c. Filter Change Record. All 32 of the nominations included filter monitoring devices and filter change records. The point here is that one really does not know when to change filters without knowing the resistance of the filters and when the filters were last changed. These are simple things but reflect the attention to detail required to ensure optimum filter performance.
Air filters – particularly high efficiency filters – are only as good as the seal of the filters in the system. Air bypass can significantly reduce filter efficiency. Therefore, gasketing is an essential component. A review of the nominations shows that 30 of the 32 filter installations included gasketing.
3. Air Filtration Training and Certification are growing in importance.
Seventy-six percent of the nominations included points for either having either a NAFA Certified Technician (NCT) on the staff of the nominee or having filter service performed by a NAFA Certified Technician service crew.
Most of the buildings nominated for the Clean Air Award have building engineers whose sole responsibility is the care of their property. These engineers are often encouraged by their management to take advantage of training opportunities that would make them more proficient and knowledgeable about their jobs. The NAFA Certified Technician (NCT) program is perfect for this purpose.
Any Certified Air Filter Specialist (CAFS) can give the training and administer the test for the NCT. This is a great opportunity to exhibit filter knowledge, create a more receptive customer and cement ties to ensure future business. The complete NCT training program is available as a Powerpoint presentation. The test is based on the book – The NAFA Installation, Operation and Maintenance of Air Filtration Systems Manual. The NCT designation is a plus for them and an ongoing link with the CAFS who gave them the training.
It is also interesting to note that 31 of the 32 applications were submitted by individuals who were NAFA Certified Air Filter Specialists (CAFS). This is recognition of the fact that the CAFS designation is an essential part of being a professional in the air filtration industry.
4. The Use of UV Lights in Increasing
A few years ago we added points on the nomination form for the use of UV lights. Initially, less than 10% of the applications included UV lights. In 2015 UV lights were included in 35% of the applications.
It is also interesting to note the types of buildings nominated for a Clean Air Award. Here is the breakdown for 2015:
- 75% – Office Buildings
- 13% – Medical Buildings
- 6% – Resort/Casino
- 3% – Government
- 3% – School
Seventy-five percent of the nominees for the Clean Air Award were office buildings. Almost all of these would be classified as “Class A” office space. This means that they have the best locations, have the best designs, have the best management and have the highest rents. The Clean Air Award is an excellent way for them to differentiate themselves from their competition.
To summarize, the Clean Air Award has become an established and important program. It is an excellent benefit of NAFA membership. As we move into the new year it is a great time to start your list of nominees for 2016 from your customer base.
Jim Rosenthal is Chairman and CEO of Tex-Air Filters in Fort Worth, Texas. He is a graduate of Colorado College and has a Master’s Degree from the University of Pittsburgh. He is a Certified Air Filter Specialist and Past President of the National Air Filtration Association.