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American Air Filter International
American Air Filter International




Office building achieves LEED-EB certification with AAF filtration upgrade

Learn how AAF helped this building reach new heights.

The Filtration Situation

Cushman & Wakefield of Texas has been a long-time AAF customer. When they wanted to improve the building efficiency of 777 Main Street — and earn a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification for the building — AAF was there to provide proven filtration solution options.

At the time, the building used MERV 8 PerfectPleat ULTRA filters. LEED Goldcertification would require an upgrade in the filtration systems.

Sustainable Filtration - U.S. Green Building Council

Rising energy costs and economic fluctuations have increased the pressure on commercial buildings to cut energy costs and improve sustainability. The LEED Green Building Rating System, administered by the U.S. Green Building Council, is the nationally accepted benchmark for designing and sustaining green buildings.

LEED provides third-party verification that a building is designed and built using strategies aimed at improving performance across the metrics that matter most: energy savings, water efficiency, CO2 emissions reduction, improved indoor environmental quality, stewardship of resources and reduction of waste.

The LEED system also provides building owners and operators with a framework for identifying and implementing practical and measurable design, construction, operations and maintenance solutions. Proper air filtration strategies can contribute credits toward certification. These strategies involve increasing the efficiency of the air filtration and reducing the distribution of particulates.

The AAF Solution

AAF conducted a survey to help uncover economical solutions that would improve the current filtration system’s efficiency without making a significant impact on the budget.

MERV 13 VariCel M-Pak filters were recommended for large recirculation units inside the building. The VariCel M-Pak has a dual-density media design, allowing it to use the full filtering potential of the media. The VariCel was also designed to maximize dust holding to extend the life of the filter and minimize operating costs.

AAF’s Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) report compared the overall costs of using the VariCel M-Pak filter alone versus combining it with the PerfectPleat ULTRA filter. The most economical outcome was to install VariCel M-Pak filters without the prefilters. No costly fan modifications were required with this choice, and energy savings would be greater.

Additionally, AAF recommended MERV 14 filters, because they won’t block off airflow if they get wet.

The Results

Cushman & Wakefield decided to run a six-month trial focusing on its air handlers with the heaviest dirt load in the building. The trial revealed they could get one year of life from VariCel M-Pak without using a prefilter.

Over the next 12 months, all the interior and exterior air handling units were refurbished. MERV 8 filters were upgraded to either MERV 13 VariCel M-Pak filters or MERV 14 DriPak 2000 filters.

As a result, particulate matter was reduced by 62%. Industry assumptions for this type of improvement suggest it could lead to a 40% reduction in absenteeism due to fewer upper respiratory problems for people working in the building.

777 Main Street was able to achieve LEED-EB certification. The building also received the National Air Filter Association (NAFA) Clean Air Award which recognizes leadership and excellence in air filtration. The award is traditionally given to no more than eight facilities across the country each year.

Qualifying for the NAFA award requires a minimum score of 52 — this project had a remarkable score of 67.

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