See how energy-saving air curtains can now kill coronavirus, mold and other biological contaminants at the doorway

by Brianna Crandall — August 14, 2020 — New Castle, Pennsylvania-based air curtain manufacturer and innovator Berner International has developed the PureAir Package, an air purification system for air curtains to help buildings combat the COVID-19 pandemic while supporting sustainability goals.

Air curtains

As Berner explains it, an air curtain, also known as an air door or fly fan, “is a machine that blows a controlled stream of air across an opening to the other side to create an air seal. This seal separates different environments while allowing a smooth, uninterrupted flow of traffic and unobstructed vision through the opening. Because they help to contain heated or conditioned air, they provide sizable energy savings and increased personal comfort when applied in industrial or commercial settings. They also help to stop the infiltration of pollutants and flying insects.”


Berner air curtains with Pure Air Package

Air curtains keep temperatures stable by open doors and block bugs and pollutants; the new PureAir Package air purification system also deactivates coronavirus, mold and other biological contaminants. Image courtesy Berner

Air curtains can be used in a variety of building types to enhance or replace a vestibule to keep temperatures stable, save energy, reduce installation costs, keep bugs and pollutants out, reduce touchpoints, and protect occupant well-being, especially for doors that are often opened.

When properly selected, installed and operated, air curtains really do work to create a barrier out of air across an opening, says Berner; so much so, that ASHRAE Standard 90.1-2019 and the International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) building code allow AMCA-certified air curtains as alternatives to vestibules.

New PureAir Package for air curtains

The new Berner PureAir Package complements the built environment’s indoor air quality (IAQ) and disinfection efforts by deactivating viruses, killing bacteria, and neutralizing a space’s airborne volatile organic compounds (VOC), as well as allergens and other biological contaminants such as mold spores. This is touted as the industry’s first air curtain to include needlepoint bipolar ionization (NPBI) technology, enabling users to safely disinfect and purify the air in the space, beginning at the doorway.

The PureAir Package is currently available on Berner’s popular Architectural High Performance 10 (AHD10) air curtain, designed for separating environments at main entrances in retail, restaurants, hospitality, healthcare, education and other commercial and industrial applications.

The PureAir Package includes:

  • The needlepoint bipolar ionization (NPBI) technology module;
  • A washable one-inch-thick (25-mm) aluminum mesh MERV-8 particulate filter;
  • A 10-speed 1/2-hp electronically commutated (EC) motor; and
  • A factory-installed Intelliswitch with Pure Mode operation.

With the PureAir Package, during periods when the door is open, the air curtain operates as both an air curtain and an air purifier. When the door closes for longer than 60 seconds, the air curtain automatically transitions to Pure Mode for continuous NPBI ion distribution throughout the space with one of its lowest, quietest speeds.

The Pure Mode setting distributes a minimum ion density of 787 ions/inch2 (2,000 ions/cm2) within a minute for reliable pathogen disinfection of the space.  On Pure Night mode, to provide optimum ion density, the air curtain runs at a powerful high speed, de-stratifying the air in the room and purifying it prior to occupancy periods.

The needlepoint bipolar ionization (NPBI) technology has been third-party surface-tested by Innovative Bioanalysis, Cypress, California, to neutralize airborne viruses, including the SARS CoV-2 coronavirus that causes the COVID-19 disease, at a 99.4-percent success rate during 30-minute exposures.

NPBI also disinfects mold, mildew, allergens, bacteria and other biological contaminants using an ionization process that is Environmental Claim Validated through UL-2998 for zero ozone emission and as being free from byproducts.

The ionization process creates positively and negatively charged ions that are distributed by the air curtain. These ions attach to microscopic airborne particulates. The positive and negative ions break down gases such as volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and odors and also pull hydrogen out of viruses, bacteria and mold, which deactivates or kills them.

The polarized particles’ electrical attraction and subsequent agglomeration facilitates their entrapment in the air curtain’s intake air MERV 8 filter. Together, the combination of the NPBI technology and MERV 8 filter approaches HEPA performance and improves the IAQ.

The Intelliswitch, a programmable digital controller, which has a time clock, time delay, built-in thermostat, 10-speed fan control, and other integrated customizable features, can also be operated wirelessly through the Berner AIR, an advanced control technology communications platform for air curtains. The platform uses a wireless controller, encrypted at the processor level, to connect the Intelliswitch to the Berner App for smartphones, which also allows Berner factory technicians to help local contractors troubleshoot service.

Berner points out that the air curtain technology is ideal for the needlepoint bipolar ionization (NPBI) technology because air curtains are used right where customers, patients, employees, etc., enter and exit a building.  The air curtain distributes ions from inside the space, starting right at the entrance, for an immediate effect, and it tirelessly replenishes the supply as old ions reach their minutes-long lifecycle.

Other features of the PureAir Package and AHD10 air curtain are:

  • Five-year warranty on ambient, two-year warranty on heated models
  • UL-867 listing for air cleaners, as required by the California Air Resources Board (ARB), to be ozone- and byproducts-free technology
  • Complements ASHRAE-recommended outdoor air flushing treatments of buildings and increased ventilation during pandemic periods by both de-stratifying and purifying the air
  • The AHD10 Series air curtain is AMCA-certified; the MERV-8 filter upgrade changes the air stream performance slightly and is not part of the AMCA test
  • Saves energy and lowers energy costs
  • Energy-efficient EC Motors support 24/7 operation of the air curtain
  • Berner air curtains are made in the USA
  • Factory-assembled and -tested

For more information on Berner International air curtain products and the new PureAir Package, visit the company’s website. Operating for 60 years, Berner is a member of the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), The Green Building Alliance (GBA), the Air Movement & Control Association (AMCA), and the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating & Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE).