Sustainability and savings have become two crucial goals -- and priorities -- for users of commercial air filters. And little wonder: Reducing the cost of clean air solutions can boost a company’s bottom line, while reducing energy use and waste helps the environment. To recognize facilities that have taken wise, and often bold, steps to achieve these twin goals, Camfil Farr -- the world’s leading provider of clean air solutions -- created its ECI Award Program. Three recent winners of these awards were featured in the October/November 2012 issue of FacilityCare Magazine.
ECI is shorthand for Energy Cost Index, a rating system that reveals an air filter’s true ‘lifetime’ value by taking its energy cost and dividing it by the filter’s average efficiency at 0.4 um, the most common size for contamination particles in indoor environments. The ECI awards -- instituted in 2007 -- is a national program through which Camfil Farr publicly recognizes facility owners and managers who demonstrate a long-term commitment to achieving savings and sustainability, while maintaining, and often improving, indoor air quality. It is a commitment that can require complex analysis and decisions, determining the optimal air filter product -- or combination of air filter products -- giving the best possible combination of performance, life-cycle cost, longevity, and maintenance and disposal expense reductions.
Boehringer Ingelheim Roxane, Inc. -- one of the world’s leading pharmaceutical companies -- is among the three air filter customers profiled in the magazine, and the winner of ECI awards in 2008, 2009, and 2010. Back in 2008 -- when sustainability was still a fledgling concept for most businesses -- it launched a project to reduce the annual cost of air filters used in 26 of its air handling units (AHUs). Many of these AHUs were using 3 filters apiece; others were using 2. The idea was to convert the 3-filter units to 2 filters, and the 2-filter units to 1 filter. This would reduce filter, labor, and energy costs, while reducing waste and expenses incurred in disposal.
Working with its air filtration supplier -- Ketchum & Walton Co., of Columbus Ohio -- the company took advantage of Camfil Farr’s innovative Life Cycle Cost (LCC Green) software, which determines and compares the total cost of ownership for various air filtration products. The LCC Green software -- which bases its analysis on real-life performance factors including local air quality, lifetime efficiency of filters, labor to service and transport the filters, energy consumption, and disposal costs -- suggested that the pharmaceutical company could meet its savings objectives -- while boosting indoor air quality -- by using high efficiency Camfil Farr Hi-Flo MERV 14 bag filters in the 2-to-1 filter configurations, and a combination of Camfil Farr Hi-Flo MERV 9 and Hi-Flo MERV 14 air filters in the 3-to-2 configurations. Doing so, the LLC Green software calculated, would extend the change-out intervals, reduce filter and change-out costs, and require less energy, since the new filters would be higher efficiency models than the filters they replaced.
The case was compelling, and Boehringer Ingelheim Roxane implemented the changes later in 2008. The savings came shortly thereafter. By 2010, two years after switching the to the Camfil Farr solution, the company had saved a total of $135,733.
Also highlighted in the FacilityCare article is Gimli Community Health Centre, an eight-year-old heath center and hospital in Canada. The facility had, from the start, faced a special challenge in maintaining optimal indoor air quality. It’s location meant high humidity most of the year, a snow cover for half of the year, frequent rain, and dusty conditions when the skies were clear. It, too, wanted to improve both filter performance and cost -- and used Camfil Farr’s LCC software to compare different options.
In the end, the analysis suggested that savings and performance could be enhanced by replacing Gimli’s existing filters with Camfil Farr 30/30 air filters (a MERV 8 pleated panel filter guaranteed to perform at its rated efficiency or higher throughout its service life) and Camfil Farr Durafil ES filters, which use fine fiber media to maintain efficiency throughout their service life.
The result: The hospital could change out filters every two to three years instead of every year, and labor and energy costs could be saved. Indeed, Gimli Community Health Centre -- which received ECI awards in 2008 through 2011 -- is on track to meet or exceed its five-year cost savings projection of more than CDN $22,000 (US $22.870).
The final air filter user profiled in the magazine is Upstate Medical University, a combination medical college and hospital, and the largest healthcare provider in Syracuse, New York. At the 410-bed facility, top-rated air quality is a priority, necessary not just to provide comfort but to promote health and keep potentially dangerous infections at bay. While its ICUs are required to use MERV 14 filters, Upstate Medical University’s policy is to go a level beyond that, with HEPA filters in use, as well.
Today, HEPA filters are in at work in the facility’s pediatric units, emergency rooms, physical therapy, endoscopy and outpatient treatment areas, and the healthcare provider is always looking to retrofit to HEPA levels. To that end, the combination of Camfil Farr 30/30 MERV 8 pre-filters with HEPA final filters has proved particularly helpful. While retrofits are traditional complex projects, the low-airflow resistance characteristics of the Camfil Farr filters make for an easier retrofit, the facility found.
The recipient of an ECI award in 2010, Upstate Medical University Hospital became, the following year, the first hospital in New York State to achieve certification as a DNV Primary Stroke Center (PSC) hospital. DNV’s hospital accreditation program is the only one of its kind to integrate International Organization for Standardization (ISO) guidelines that relate to quality management systems and help organizations ensure that they meet the needs of their customers and other stakeholders.
Simultaneously achieving savings, sustainability, and performance increases may seem like a lofty goal, but as the ECI Award Program recipients show, with careful analysis -- and the right air filter products -- they are goals that can be readily achieved, and achieved today.
The world leader in air filtration systems, Camfil Farr provides clean air solutions for hospitals, hotels, office buildings, educational institutions, and pharmaceutical and biotech companies. We provide the tools to achieve sustainability, maintain high air quality, and reduce airborne infections -- all while lowering total cost of ownership. Camfil Farr customers go green without ever sacrificing performance. For more information, visit us online at http://airfilters.camfilfarr.us, or call us toll-free at 888.599.6620.