Story at a glance:
- Consider products that improve indoor air quality based on third-party verifications.
- Not all air cleaning systems run continuously, reducing their effectiveness.
- ActivePure draws minimal energy, runs continuously, and can be installed in any space.
There are hundreds of products on the market that claim to sanitize, clean, and purify indoor air, with more being added every day. All these options can make it difficult for architects and designers to know what is best for their projects.
Former Acting Surgeon General Dr. Kenneth Moritsugu wrote an article in May 2021 that specifically outlined what people should be looking for in these systems. Officials at Dallas-based air purification company ActivePure liked his guidance so much that they adopted them as company standards. “He identified the key attributes that would provide meaningful assurance the products you are installing are doing what they are supposed to. We liked his ideas so much we decided to adopt them as our own standards,” says Amy Carenza, chief commercial officer at ActivePure. “He didn’t want people wasting money on unproven things.”
Here are a few questions Moritsugu suggested architects and designers ask before purchasing air purification products.
Is it proven effective?
When choosing an indoor air purification system, it is important to have proof it works. “Has there been any third-party analysis that shows it can deactivate pathogens, especially SARS CoV-2?” Carenza says.
ActivePure worked with an unaffiliated third party laboratory to confirm its technology, which mimics the outdoor process of photolysis and inactivates 99.9% of airborne SARS-CoV-2 within a 60-second testing period—faster than the speed of transmission.
Is it continuously active and adaptable?
Some air cleaning systems do not run continuously. They may be harmful to occupants or draw too much power to run at all hours. To be the most effective at deactivating pathogens, the product must be run continuously. It is also crucial the system be adaptable to your specific space. Depending on the size of the area, a system may need to address large or small volume spaces, work around architectural constraints, or be configured to existing HVAC systems.
ActivePure draws minimal energy, runs continuously, and comes in more than 70 form factors, so it can be installed in any space.
Can it be used in spaces occupied by people and pets?
Some technologies that are effective at clearing pathogens are harmful to people or pets and can only run when occupants are out of the space. “UV light is highly effective at sanitizing surfaces, but you can’t have it on and running in an occupied classroom,” Carenza says.
Other products that use outdated photocatalytic oxidation technology generate ozone and toxic byproducts. Those systems can be harmful to occupants.
ActivePure uses a technology originally developed in partnership with NASA to re-create photolysis indoors. It allows the ambient humidity in indoor spaces to transform into the same therapeutic molecules found outdoors. Those molecules can then neutralize virus pathogens, bacteria, fungi, mold, pollen, and volatile organic compounds. It uses no chemicals or ozone and can be used in occupied spaces.
Is it used in any Class II Medical Devices?
Choosing an air-cleaning device that is cleared by the FDA ensures you are getting a product that has met rigorous standards for safety and effectiveness. While air cleaners are not required to obtain FDA clearance to be eligible for sale in the US, the ActivePure Medical Guardian was cleared by the FDA in 2020. “Getting clearance by the FDA is not a quick and easy process. It took two years and a lot of trial, testing, evolution, and investment,” Carenza says.
Has the system been proven effective in real world settings?
Testing in a tightly controlled lab setting is one thing, but testing in the real world is another. “It is important that the product be tested in the operating environment it is designed for,” Carenza says. “When we adopted these standards, we immediately pivoted our strategy to offer every client a real-world test, proof of efficacy or their money back. You will not find any other air technology company doing that. It is expensive, and you have to be confident in the outcomes you can achieve to be willing to put yourself into these situations.”