A Cure-All for What Ails Our Air?


There are two problems with the air we breathe indoors. First, we use massive amounts of energy treating our indoor air to make it more comfortable–dehumidifying and cooling our air may account for up to a sixth of all energy used in the world, according to one estimate. It’s expensive, and it exacerbates climate change. Second, the air we breathe is often polluted, tainted, or somehow adulterated: particulate matter, cigarette smoke, ozone, viruses, bacteria, organic solvents–all sorts of troublesome stuff can end up in the air we breathe, causing especial grief for people with asthma or allergies.

A new system claims to kill these two problems with one stone. Matthew Johnson of the University of Copenhagen had the insight that by cleaning the air–at least in certain climates–you introduce to a building air that already has the right temperature. He has developed a system called “CleanAir,” the details of which remain sketchy, but he says it will neutralize all the nasty stuff found in air listed above. A test run on a University of Cophenhagen office building apparently removed 40 compounds from the air within minutes. Johnson has said he even hopes to implement the device in industrial smokestacks, thereby cleaning emissions.

We’ve reached out to Johnson to hear more details on his seemingly too-good-to-be-true panacea, and will update when there’s something to report.DZ