Tag Archives: pollution solutions

In recent years, all sorts of companies have focused their attention on the environment—and some have intensified efforts to correct the ills of poor air quality due to global air pollution. Now, home furnishing giant IKEA is stepping into the indoor air quality arena in a most unusual way.

Introducing GUNRID

The company has developed a fabric curtain that helps reduce air pollution when exposed to light—both sunlight and indoor lighting. Called the GUNRID, the curtain is coated with a mineral-based treatment that acts almost like photosynthesis, breaking down surface pollutants to reduce indoor air pollution. Given that indoor air is two to five times more polluted than outdoor air—which itself is quite polluted—any measure of help in helping poor air quality is a boon.

“For me, it’s important to work on products that solve actual problems and are relevant to people. Textiles are used across homes and by enabling a curtain to purify the air, we are creating an affordable and space-saving air purifying solution that also makes the home more beautiful,” says Mauricio Affonso, Product Developer at IKEA Range & Supply.

In addition, the company is also committed to reducing air pollution in its manufacturing processes. IKEA is exploring ways to turn rice straw, a rice harvesting residue that contributes to air pollution because it is typically burned for disposal, into a renewable material source for future products.

Still, the company acknowledges that these are small steps. “We know that there is no single solution to solve air pollution,” says Lena Pripp-Kovac, Head of Sustainability at Inter IKEA Group. “We work long term for positive change, to enable people to live healthier and more sustainable lives.”

What can you do about poor air quality now?

Currently, there’s a more proven—and significant—solution to poor air quality. The complete line of AeraMax Professional air purifiers uses a four-stage filtration system employing hospital-like True HEPA filtration to eliminate 99.97 percent of airborne contaminants, including viruses, germs, bacteria, odors and volatile organic compounds, from enclosed indoor spaces. The units also have a unique sensing system, which continually monitors the air, adjusting to clean air when necessary for the ultimate in set-it-and-forget-it convenience.

In recent years, researchers have charted a medical phenomenon that affects a wide swath of people with no discernable connection—save one. All the people who experience symptoms of headaches, tiredness, ear, nose and throat irritation, dizziness and nausea have one thing in common: They spend a large amount of time in buildings. And the buildings are making them sick.

Sick Building Syndrome is a malady related to poor air quality in a building—air with germs, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), allergens and pathogens that is recirculated and “trapped” through inadequate ventilation. Compounding the problem is the fact that many buildings are constructed specifically to trap this air, with no way of opening windows. Likewise, older buildings have HVAC systems that cannot handle increased airflow—or worse yet, are “dialed down” to save on energy costs.

sick building syndrome


Newer, more energy-efficient buildings aren’t immune to the problem of Sick Building Syndrome either. According to the World Health Organization, up to 30 percent of new or remodeled buildings also cause Sick Building Syndrome. That’s because paint, solvents and adhesives used in new construction produce VOCs, as do new furniture and newly installed carpeting.

One way to potentially ease the threat of Sick Building Syndrome is to thoroughly scrub inside air. But given that indoor air is constantly being infiltrated with outdoor air—though open doorways and outside access—it’s important to continually monitor and clean it. And that’s exactly what the complete line of AeraMax Professional air purifiers were designed to do.

These commercial-grade air purifiers use a four-stage filtration system employing hospital-like True HEPA filtration to eliminate 99.97 percent of airborne contaminants from enclosed spaces. So, while conventional HVAC systems exacerbate the problem of sick air, AeraMax Professional actually removes it, cycling cleaned air into the enclosed space.

The units have a unique sensing system, which continually monitors the air, adjusting to clean air when necessary. Since they are effective in removing VOCs from the air, they are also ideal in new construction, or buildings that have been recently remodeled.

According to the American Lung Association, more than 40 percent of Americans breathe in dirty air every day. That’s the findings from the association’s annual State of the Air report, which tabulates the quality of air in cities across the United States, factoring in smog, air pollution, carbon monoxide levels from car exhaust and spikes in temperature, which “cooks” pollution to make it more intense. The overall effect: dirty air can cause difficulty in breathing, decrease life expectancy and may even contribute to lung cancer.

Given the topographical shape of California—it resembles a bowl that traps bad air at lower levels, instead of allowing it to float into the atmosphere—it’s no wonder that a number of the cities with the worst pollution are from the so-called Golden State. The Los Angeles area ranked number one on the list of most polluted cities over a 24-hour period, followed by the Bakersfield, Visalia, and Fresno, CA areas, respectively. Fairbanks, AK ranked fourth, primarily because a great number of residents use wood-burning stoves and fireplaces for heating; these appliances cause the releases of harmful chemicals that linger in the air.

Top 10 Most Polluted Cities:

1.Los Angeles – Riverside – Orange County, CA
2.Bakersfield, CA
3.Visalia, CA
4.Fresco, CA
5.Fairbanks, AK
6.Modesto, CA
7.San Jose – San Francisco – Oakland, CA
8.Salt Lake City – Provo – Orem, UT
9.El Centro, CA
10.Pittsburgh, PA

For the most polluted cities with annualized results, Fairbanks, AK took top (dis)honors. This means the city had the worst year-round results. In terms of most polluted cities with regard to ozone production, Los Angeles, CA ranked first.

And cleanest cities?

That would be Cheyenne, WY, followed by Honolulu, HI and Casper, WY, because they have relatively smaller population centers.

Still, the numbers are alarming. What’s more, given that indoor air is two to five times more polluted than outdoor air, there’s real concern about the air we breathe. Simply staying indoors on high-ozone days doesn’t cut it.

Instead. You need to ensure that indoor air is clean. The best way to do that, in our opinion: get an AeraMax Professional air purifier. The complete line of professional-grade air purifiers effectively and efficiently clean indoor air, removing up to 99.97 percent of harmful contaminants—like germs, viruses, odors, volatile organic compounds, odors and pollutants—from indoor air, using hospital-grade True HEPA filtration.

So, while you can’t necessarily move from your area to get better air, you can make the air better, with AeraMax Professional.

It seems like every news cycle is dominated by talk of air pollution and poor indoor air quality. There are ways, however, to influence the quality of indoor environments.

Here are four quick changes that facility managers can make to improve indoor air quality.

1. Boost ventilation.

One simple way of helping alleviate air issues is by boosting the flow of air throughout a facility by opening windows. Oftentimes, facility managers try to improve air by putting additional filters in place by cranking up the HVAC, but that drags down airflow (there’s a better solution at Number Four on our list!). Also, note that bacteria and spores grow in warm, wet environments, so consider getting dehumidifiers for problem areas, like areas of water leaks and damage.

2. Remove problems.

Certain types of carpeting and office furniture give off vapors that are volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which in turn affect respiration and exacerbate asthma symptoms. That’s why many companies opt for wood or tile flooring. Look to replace things like toxic wall paint to with non-toxic alternatives, too.

3. Go green.

“Cleaning for Health” is a huge trend these days and focusing on green cleaning techniques can improve overall indoor air quality. Get started by downloading our whitepaper.

4. Get AeraMax® Professional.

Quite simply, the most effective way to positively impact indoor air quality is by installing AeraMax Professional commercial grade air purifiers. These units remove 99.97 percent of indoor contaminants like germs, bacteria, allergens and VOCs, making indoor air livable and breathable again. Each also is effective at removing odors from indoor spaces, making them ideal for high traffic areas. The air purifiers come in wall mount and stand units in a variety of sizes to suit most indoor spaces, and offer an easy way to get ahead of indoor air quality issues.