This story was originally published in Builder.
While allergy season is ramping up across the country, allergen-free home environments are a priority year-round for sufferers and their families. Features and products that reduce or eliminate pollen, pet hair, dust mites, mold, and VOC emissions in the home can dramatically improve a potential buyer's quality of life—especially in today's tightly insulated home envelopes.
The following products offer features, innovations, and certifications designed to bring relief to allergy sufferers, and to promote a healthy indoor environment overall. Many of these products are certified Allergy & Asthma Friendly by Allergy Standards Limited, which indicates that the product meets strict independent testing standards for allergen avoidance.
The Fresh In supply fan ventilation system is designed to ensure proper, constant airflow in tightly built homes. Its built-in temperature monitoring systems allows it to automatically determine the best times to run the fan, and its ultra-efficient, variable-speed motor allows it to deliver constant airflow without losing efficiency.
Its washable aluminum filter is also available as an MERV 8 filter, which can capture mold spores and fine dust, or a MERV 13 filter, which also captures bacteria and smoke. broan.com
The GLAS smart thermostat offers a variety of environmental and allergen reports, including temperature, humidity, and indoor and outdoor air quality. Indoor real-time quality reports include total VOC and equivalent CO2 measurements. Outdoor real-time air quality reports, available when the device is connected to the Internet, include allergen levels, UV indices, and air pollution indices.
GLAS is also able to provide operating notifications for HVAC systems, including poor indoor air quality warnings and air filter change reminders, and can be set to automatically turn on a fan or ventilation equipment when air quality falls below moderate levels. Smart features include a translucent touchscreen and control via mobile app or via voice through Microsoft Cortana. johnsoncontrols.com
The yogi-go, a newly unveiled commercial grade edition of Live Pure’s yogi environmental quality assessment kit, includes a 12-volt rechargeable external battery and heavy-duty, waterproof carrying case, which accommodates the testing device, battery, and sample kits.
Both the yogi and yogi-go can test a whole home’s air for mold, allergens, lead, asbestos, radon, VOCs and formaldehyde in the air within an hour and 45 minutes. The device calibrates for each test with the press of a button, and requires no special training to use. Once the testing process is complete, users can send the samples to Live Pure’s accredited labs, which will return a report to the user within ten days. From there, the staff is available for consultations if elevated levels of any contaminant are present. livepureinc.com
The Pure Safety High Performance mineral fiber insulation offers R-15 thermal protection, contains up to 65 percent less dust than comparable insulation, and reduces noise passage by up to 50 percent. It is mold and mildew resistant, and Class A fire rated. Its asthma & allergy friendly certification demonstrates that it does not contain any prohibited chemicals, does not emit volatile organic compounds or dust particles in excess of certification standards, and resists fungal growth.
The Pure Safety insulation is also UL Greenguard Gold certified for low VOC emissions and UL Validated Formaldehyde Free. It meets USDA BioPreferred guidelines, and contains a minimum average of 65 percent recycled content. owenscorning.com
The Trane CleanEffects uses a combination of a large pre-filter, a patented ifD corona field charger, and a precisely-engineered grid of collection cells to remove up to 99.98 percent of airborne allergens, including dust, pet hair, and tobacco smoke, as small as 0 .1 micron. The purifier produces a Clean Air Delivery Rate (CADR) of 1,200, compared to a CADR of 12 for a standard 1-inch filter or 660 for a standard whole-home air cleaner. It can reduce the need to dust a home by up to 50 percent, according to the manufacturer. It can be installed as part of a matched Trane indoor air quality system. trane.com
Benjamin Moore’s Natura Premium Interior Paint is certified asthma and allergy friendly by Allergy Standards Limited. The 100 percent acrylic latex paint produces zero VOCs or other emissions, as tested four hours after application, and dries quickly enough to return a freshly painted room to service the same day.
Natura is self-priming on most surfaces, splatter-resistant, and easily washable with soap and water. It is available in flat, eggshell and semi-gloss finishes and over 3,500 color tints in quart, gallon, and 5-gallon containers. benjaminmoore.com
The iComfort S30 Ultra Smart Thermostat features an “Allergen Defender” system, which continually monitors the air quality and pollen levels in the local ZIP code. Using this data, the thermostat can automatically run the home’s iComfort-enabled communicating fan when outdoor allergen or particulate levels run high. The interface also offers air filter change reminders, as well as other service and replacement reminders.
The thermostat is designed to be installed with with Lennox iComfort-enabled communicating equipment, which may be controlled and monitored with the thermostat interface. lennox.com
Unlike conventional air cleaners, which eliminate almost all airborne bacteria and other particulates, Better Air’s probiotic products seek to promote healthy home environments by increasing the home’s ratio of good to bad bacteria.
The BA-1000 Pro system connects to a home’s existing HVAC system, and may be installed in front of existing antibiotic or air filtration systems. The system dispenses a spray of probiotic solution containing Bacillus spp. spores on a pre-programmed or custom basis, covering up to 5,000 square feet under air, including surfaces not usually filtered through conventional systems.
According to a study published in in the Journal of Microbiology & Experimentation, cleaning techniques that incorporate this solution result in a decreased microbial load of various harmful pathogens, including Staphylococcus aureus, Coliforms, and Pseudomonas spp. Sprays, personal space dispensers, and other sizes are also available. betterairus.com
Tarkett Fresh Air
Tarkett’s residential flooring products are the only residential flooring certified asthma and allergy friendly by the AAFFA. The Fresh Air Laminate flooring does not require any adhesive for installation, and its VOC emissions are low to undetectable. With standard cleaning with a vacuum or damp mop, the flooring will resist and repel over 90 percent of allergens. The flooring is 12mm thick, AC3 rated for durability, and CARB II compliant. It is available in six designs, including Reclaimed Pine, Hewn Maple, and Barnside Pine. tarkettna.com
This story was originally published in Builder.