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Despite having the highest asthma rates in the world, Australia is still one of the few countries globally that hasn’t introduced formal standards for indoor air quality.

According to Asthma Australia this chronic disease affecting more than 2.7 million people costs Australians $1.2 billion a year.

Even neighbouring countries such as Taiwan, Singapore and Hong Kong have standards in place, according to Jeremy Stamkos, who is the head of a newly formed IAQ technical group for the Australian Institute of Refrigeration, Air Conditioning and Heating (AIRAH).

Stamkos said it is hard to believe how long it has taken for standards to be introduced to Australia especially when there is such a growing body of evidence about the dangers of poor indoor air quality to human health.

He said AIRAH put forward a submission to Standards Australia and it is in development.

“Non-mandatory guidelines are available and were published by the National Construction Code but there has been a lot more work done since then around identifying the parameters that influence air quality,” Stamkos said.

“People want to know what’s acceptable tenancy in the built environment and the standard we develop will reflect the ever-expanding body of knowledge and research around ventilation and air quality.”

Stamkos said AIRAH is hopeful there will be a draft standard in place by mid-2020.

Standards Australia spokesperson, Scott McGrath, confirmed the AIRAH project was still in development admitting it has been a long process.

McGrath said this is because the committee is looking to develop an international standard.

“We do have a committee that is developing air quality standards and they are committed to doing this for the Australian market,” he said.

In addition to concerns about mould, condensation, bacteria, dust and other pollutants that contribute to illness, there is a growing awareness around the use of low Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC) and other toxic materials used in buildings.

Good air means less drowsiness and more productivity which is why organisations are also relying on the latest HVAC systems to address indoor air quality.

Regular maintenance and clean filters can improve air quality and increase unit efficiency by as much as 30 per cent.

It’s the reason why today’s air conditioning units provide a lot more than heating and cooling incorporating technology features such as motion sensors to detect movement and sophisticated air filtration systems.

The new S Series - (Frostwash) wall split system recently released by Hitachi not only cleans the air but undertakes self-maintenance proving the age of Artificial Intelligence (AI) has arrived.

The Series features Frost Wash Technology which can reduce bacteria by as much as 91% and removes mould in the unit by as much 87 per cent.

Explaining how the technology works, Temperzone group brand manager, Damien Walsh, said the system cools the heat exchanger down to -15° C forming a thin layer of frost from the moisture within the air.

“While the frost is being formed, it lifts dust particles, mould and bacteria off the heat exchanger and traps it,” he said.

The Series also features a Nano Titanium pre-filter as well as the unique Nano Titanium Wasabi air purifying filter for cleaner, fresher air all year round.

Another innovation released by Hitachi is its new zone controller which can control up to eight zones individually and connect up to five temperature sensors.

Walsh said automatic fan speed mode allows the system to determine the optimal fan speed for the number of zones and outlets in operation, taking into account the amount of cooling or heating power required to maintain comfort conditions.

“Hitachi has also incorporated a power tracking feature, allowing users to monitor power usage for a day, week or year in a table or graph,” Walsh said.

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