AHAM Takes Action Toward Global Air Cleaner Standard
More people around the world, driven by concerns about the effect of air quality on their health, are purchasing room air cleaners to remove common pollutants from their indoor air.
AHAM’s measurement for determining room air cleaner performance, the Clean Air Delivery Rate (CADR), is gaining considerable acceptance in many countries, as is the AHAM Verfide® mark on products manufactured by companies participating in the AHAM Verfide® Air Cleaner Certification Program. This program and the CADR metric are based on the ANSI/AHAM AC-1 standard, which measures particulate removal of three common indoor air pollutants: pollen, dust and cigarette smoke. Currently, 35 manufacturers are licensed to use the AHAM Verifide® brand on product packaging.
While the AHAM Verfide® mark and related standards are internationally recognized, there is a growing global interest in development of a global room air cleaner performance standard. IEC is the logical forum in which to do this.
In late September, representatives from eight countries joined AHAM in Washington, DC for a meeting of IEC Technical Committee 59 – Project Team 63086. This was the second meeting for the committee, which has for the past several months been studying test procedures for room air cleaners. The test procedures have come from Canada, China, Japan, Korea, France and the U.S. Each has its own unique methodology.
The committee’s task of choosing the right elements to include in a global standard is challenging. Air quality issues differ depending on the country and presence of specific pollutants in different regions. As it stands, an air cleaner in China might not be designed to address the same air pollutants as one purchased in the U.S. This has led to some disagreement as to which test methods should be incorporated into a global standard.
Among the standards the committee is studying is AC-1, which has a three-decade track record of producing valid and repeatable test results. Differences in air quality aside, the global standard must be repeatable and produce valid test results. AHAM’s position is that a final global standard should draw significantly from AC-1.
At the same time, AHAM recognizes that the global standard will utilize elements from a number of existing standards. That’s why we signed an international memorandum of understanding with the Korean Air Cleaner Association (KACA) at the end of the September IEC meetings.
The MOU is intended to promote sharing and a free exchange of information between the parties. It also aims to strengthen the international collaboration between U.S. and Korean air cleaner manufacturers and certification programs as the air cleaner industry works on becoming more global under the IEC standards. It will help bring together different elements of the ANSI/AHAM and KACA air cleaner standards. For example, KACA has developed a test where potassium chloride is used to represent cigarette smoke. AHAM has a futures team that is looking to replace cigarette smoke with the right particulate in AC-1. Like AHAM, KACA is a member of the technical committee developing the global standard.
It’s a busy time in the world of air cleaners, and we’re involved in standards work on other fronts as well. The AHAM Task Force on Future Air Cleaner Standards has been meeting regularly throughout the year regarding potential new standards and improvements to air cleaner standards, including AC-1. The goal is to develop advanced 21st century air cleaner standards that meet the needs of our members and certification participants to accurately demonstrate the performance of the new technologies in air cleaners.
As we work to develop air cleaner standards and verification to a global stage, AHAM is fortunate to be able to draw on experience built through thousands of tests on air cleaners, as well as an internationally recognized air cleaner certification program.