Improving Building Energy Efficiency Through Implementation Of An Active Indoor Rhizospheric Microbe Air Processing System
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractCommercial energy use in Arizona is different from the rest of the United States because of their high demand for air conditioning. Nearly half of the energy used in commercial buildings goes to heating, cooling, and ventilation. In an attempt to reduce overall every use in buildings, looking at these categories led to an examination of ventilation in buildings, which is the main cause for high heating and cooling costs. Ventilation of fresh air is required in order to provide a safe, healthy environment, with acceptable indoor air quality. Indoor air quality and pollution has continuously come to light as a major health concern for building occupants. Chemicals used in manufacturing allow consumers to buy and expose themselves to toxic substances such as volatile organic compounds on a daily basis. With minimal regulations on indoor air, it is important to find ways to better filter and clean it. The traditional solution is ventilation, but more fresh air ventilation means more heating and cooling. This paper explores the research that has been done on plants and phytoremediation and the applicability to indoor air quality. With the proof that certain combinations and amounts of plants can filter the air of volatile organic compounds, systems are explored for indoor air filtration instead of mechanical ventilation. This type of system can greatly reduce heating and cooling costs in buildings due to the reduction of outdoor air being brought in and requiring conditioning. A system of this type is a feasible solution to indoor air quality and can lead to a significant reduction in energy use. The proposed AIRMAPS is a system that in certain quantities can reduce the need for fresh air ventilation by 25%, which in turn has shown through the validation by eQUEST, that the energy used for heating, cooling, and ventilation fans can also be reduced by approximately the same amount. The plants used are spider plant, dumb cane, English ivy, and golden pothos. The average formaldehyde removal by each of these plants is a low approximation of 75% per cubic meter. This paper also considers the growing materials used for the plants; activated carbon, potting soil mix, and grow-stones, as well as their formaldehyde removal capabilities.
Degree ProgramGraduate College