The standard that forces air filters to perform better
At Camfil, we have always put every effort into improving indoor environments. Thus, no one is more pleased than us that, from 2012, a new air filter standard imposes tougher requirements. Unfortunately, the requirements are not as tough as we would have liked. For example, our Hi-Flo XLT7 (a class F7 filter) has a minimum filtration efficiency of 54 percent. For an F7 filter, the standard requires no more than 35 percent. However, that does not meet the quality levels we have set for ourselves. Indeed, our development of the market’s most efficient, energyoptimised filters will continue.
What does EN779:2012 do?
The European standard for air filters (EN779:2012) went into force in 2012. Its purpose is to classify air filters based on their lowest filtration efficiency. This latter is also referred to as minimum efficiency (ME). The standard was an initiative that we welcomed and a step towards better indoor environments.
The standard helped to eradicate a number of problems. One of these was presented by electrostatic charged synthetic filters. While such filters could demonstrate good initial filtration efficiency, they discharge extremely rapidly. This entailed a considerable deterioration in their air cleaning ability.
Unfortunately, one result of the foregoing is that far too many European properties are now using F7 class filters that have ME values of between 5 and 10 percent. This means that as much as 90 to 95 percent of the contaminants in the outdoor air find their way into buildings and pollute the indoor environment.
By basing classification on ME value, the standard forced these filters out of the market. At the same time, it contributed to the development of synthetic filter materials offering considerably higher particle separation. Regrettably, the price for this included higher pressure drops and increased energy consumption.
Not all filters are the same – even when they are in the same class!
The problem with this classification is that, although the worst filters had vanished from the market, there is room for good filters to be made worse. Although energy savings can be achieved by having the lowest possible pressure drop, such development could be retrograde. For example, with 0.4 μm particles, our Hi-Flo XLT7 (class F7) filter has an ME value of a full 54 percent. However, for classification as an F7 filter, the standard requires no more than 35 percent.
As we have already made it clear, we will not be lowering the efficiency of our Hi-Flo filters. That would result in an approximately 40 percent worsening of air quality. However, there is a risk that other manufacturers will not think the same way. Instead, they may see the standard as an opportunity to reduce pressure drop and, thereby, energy consumption. This will result in poorer air quality.
For further information visit: Camfil website.
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