The ecological footprint of air purification

An air purifier is made to remove pollutants from the air. At issue is the impacts of air purifiers on the environment. Do they necessarily reduce air pollution ? Are we sure that air purifiers do not pollute more while trying to take pollution out of the air ? This is a thorny question and TEQOYA provide some answers.
At first, to measure the environmental footprint of a product, one has to do its Life Cycle Analysis :
 

Ecological footprint

One can see on this figure that a lot of elements influence the environmental footprint of a product.

On the one hand, the liftetime of a product : the longer it is, the more its environnmental footprint during other stages of the life cycle -  exploitation, raw materials, fabrication, transportation - is spread over time. In other words, it is better to choose an air purifier designed for durability than to choose a classic product.

On the other hand, energy consumption : it is obvious, but the less energy the device uses, the more its ecological footprint is reduced. Regarding air purification, it is important to choose an energy-saving device because it has to withstand daily use. If we are not careful, an air purifier may also emit more pollutants into the atmosphere than those it removes, as you can see in our calculation below! Of course, CO2 and particulates released into the atmosphere by a power plant are not directly breathed by people. But they contribute to global warming and the emission of secondary pollutants, such as ozone.

Does an air purifier with filters remove more particles in the house than it emits into the atmosphere?
Let's do the following math: how many particles are emitted in the air, because of the electricity consumption of a air purifiers with HEPA filter (which filters particles)?

puce_newTo begin, let us not forget that France is an exception in terms of power generation park.
Many countries use a lot of coal-fired power plants:
bullet_newChina (80%)
bullet_newIndia (68%)
bullet_newBut also the USA and Germany.
Coal is used to produce 40% of the electricity worldwide!
Yet, a coal-fired plant emit between 0,3 g and ... 130 g of particles for each kilowatt hour that it produces. This difference is due to the age of the installation but depends also on to the presence or absence of pollution capture systems.
Unfortunately, the latter are scarce and expensive, and they required significant maintenance.
Coal and oil : these two primary energies, still widely used to produce electricity, are important sources of CO2 and particulate matter.

puce_newIt is difficult to determine an average because the situation varies between countries, but one considers that the particulate pollutant emissions (PM10 and PM2.5, mostly) usually exceed 1 g and can even reach 100 g for 1 kilowatt hour produced.
puce_newHow many particles does an air purifier with HEPA filter eliminate when it consumes 1 kWh?
bullet_newLet's take the best equipment using this technology, released in 2015, from the most reputable brand on the market.
bullet_newThis unit will treat approximately 7 m3 of air per Wh consumed. Thus, for an "average" particle pollution of 50 µg per m3, 0.35 g of particles are elminated per kWh.
And this efficiency goes down as the filter gets clogged, as the device will require more energy to treat the same volume of air!
One understands that the "particle balance" is negative: even an efficient air purifier with HEPA filter eliminates, at best, the same quantity of particles as those it requires, at worst, 500 times less particles !
At least, the consumables: when one uses an air purifier with filters, it is strongly recommended to replace regularly (every six months) one or several filters. These filters have their own life cycle, consuming raw materials and energy from the beginning (manufacture) to the end (end of life and valorisation).

Ecological footprint

 

TEQOYA air ionizers are effective in cleansing air by eliminating particles through a natural process, and are also eco-friendly by minimizing their environmental footprint:

  • 10-year warrantly: TEQOYA air ionizers are designed to withstand daily use so one can rely on them for a long time.
  • Very low energy consumption (2W) which allows to display a ratio "particles suppressed / kWh consumed" 5 to 10 times higher than that of a filter device!
  • Whithout consumable, to make you life easier, and above all to respect the environment.

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