IAQ Strategies: Bipolar Ionization
Bipolar ionization is an indoor air quality technology that is rapidly gaining in popularity and recognition amid the pursuit of improving indoor air quality during the coronavirus pandemic. Ensuring optimum IAQ has become even more critical now that the CDC has affirmed that COVID-19 can be spread through airborne transmission. The CDC’s updated guidance states that smaller respiratory droplets can remain suspended in the air over greater distances (over 6 feet) and length of time (typically hours) than first suspected can cause airborne transmission of the SARS-CoV-2 virus to occur.
PJM Mechanical Contractors, Inc. has installed numerous bipolar ionization systems over the past several months, including the iWave needlepoint bipolar ionization system by Global Plasma Solutions (GPS), and we consider BPI to be a highly effective and safe IAQ technology.
BPI has been around for decades, but recent advances have made the technology more accessible, safe, and effective. Bipolar ionization systems are currently in use in HVAC systems in airports across the U.S. including LAX, O’Hare and LaGuardia, in prominent hospitals like Johns Hopkins, NYU Langone and Walter Reed, at several Google headquarters, and in countless commercial and hospitality facilities.
Bipolar ionization systems installed in an HVAC system work by emitting a high concentration of positively and negatively charged ions into the airstream. These ions are distributed throughout the space served, where they attach themselves to particles like dust, pollen and breath droplets, causing them to cluster together and become more easily captured by filters. Charged ions also bond with viruses, mold spores and bacteria, interfering with their surface proteins and destroying them. Bipolar ionization also neutralizes odorous gases, aerosols and VOCs.
Most BPI manufacturers provide information regarding efficacy against various pathogens, and most systems have demonstrated effectiveness in destroying various strains of SARS, influenza, norovirus, rhinovirus, staphylococcus, E-coli, MRSA, hepatitis, TB and HIV. Studies are currently being conducted on SARS-CoV-2 (coronavirus that causes COVID-19) and a recent study by the airline industry of the efficacy of needlepoint bipolar ionization against the coronavirus produced very promising results.
ASHRAE thus far has remained somewhat neutral regarding BPI pending further peer-reviewed studies, but describes reported efficacy as ranging from “ineffective to very effective in reducing airborne particulates and acute health symptoms” depending on the system. When choosing a bipolar ionization system, it is important to make sure the equipment meets UL 2998 standard certification, which validates that no harmful levels of ozone are produced. Needlepoint bipolar ionization systems have been shown to be particularly effective in IAQ applications and do not produce ozone.
PJM Mechanical Contractors, Inc. can help clients determine the best approach to improving indoor air quality and mitigating transmission of COVID-19, influenza, and other illnesses. In addition to bipolar ionization, this includes ventilation system improvements, enhanced filtration (high-MERV), evaporator coil cleaning and sanitization, ultraviolet germicidal irradiation (UVGI or UV-C), and more.
For more information on bipolar ionization, needlepoint bipolarization, or the iWave by GPS, please contact us at (609) 921-1394.
About PJM PJM Mechanical Contractors, Inc. is a multi-faceted mechanical contractor providing construction and installation, service and maintenance, and design/build services in a comprehensive range of mechanical disciplines that include HVAC, plumbing, controls, refrigeration, custom metal fabrication, piping, and backflow preventer testing. PJM primarily serves clients in pharmaceuticals, manufacturing, healthcare, institutional, and other various commercial and industrial sectors.