FAIRFIELD, CT—How clean is the air you breathe indoors? As hoteliers responsible for a comfortable and enjoyable night’s stay, the quality of the air coming through the vents and wafting through the interiors is equally important.
Poor indoor air quality has been linked to symptoms such as headaches and nose irritation, while in other cases it may even cause or worsen asthma. It’s not always due to shoddy ventilation or poor cleaning habits. A renovation, changes in humidity and contaminants such as dust, mold and pesticides can impact the air quality in a hospitality setting. Steve Levine, founder of AtmosAir, believes he has a solution that will not only improve indoor air quality, but also provide a new source of revenue for hotels.
“We have been in business since 2007 and we have a technology that we brought over from Europe that pulls out of the air everything we shouldn’t be breathing. Whether it is dust particles or mold spores, it pulls them out and breaks them down so people with allergies and asthma get a cleaner and healthier breathing space,” Levine said. “It also breaks down VOCs [volatile organic compounds], odors and restaurant fumes that get into unwanted spaces and pulls them out of the air. We’ve done some great studies on how the device will attack various germs, allowing for hospitals to be able to install our technology.”
So, how can hotels use this as a way to gain more revenue? According to Levine, a cleaner and healthier room environment is marketable, much like the promotion of smoke-free rooms—and guests are interested.
“The neat thing is hotels are using this as a way to gain revenue. They are marketing this as allergy-friendly rooms to people with asthma and allergies, who are willing to pay an extra $20 a night to stay in a better room that creates a healthier breathing experience,” he said. “One out of five people suffer from allergies and asthma. We want to help that 50 million or so and the hotels to gain revenue by installing our technology in the room.”
There are products on the market that claim to enhance air quality via filters, UV lights and electrostatic air cleaners, but the difference is that these work on the return side of the airflow, said Levine. His product takes a different approach to cleaning the air.
“In every space there is either the return side or the supply side of the air. All these other technologies put them on the return side as they try to capture the passive air. When airflow comes into the space, we bring in negative and positive ions you may breathe in mountain environments because there’s a natural amount of positive and negative ions in those areas,” he said. “We bring those ions in and let them filter the space where they attack the contaminants and remove them from the air. We’re the only technology—and the official word is bipolar ionization—that delivers these ions into a space. These ions attach themselves to dust particles or spores and it’s by attaching that it breaks them down so there’s less particles and dust. We break down the reproductive cycle of mold spores. It creates a much better space.”
AtmosAir’s air cleaning device is not portable and doesn’t take up space in a room. Instead, it is installed in the building’s ventilation system where people can’t see or hear it. “It’s a little tube and when air flows over this AtmosAir tube, the negative and positive ions are created, and that is what cleans the rooms,” he said.
According to Levine, AtmosAir has secured a strategic partnership with Hilton, providing the technology for an allergy-friendly room and other wellness initiatives, and there’s a deal with New York’s Hyatt Grand Central where the device will be added to six rooms.
“We have a system in Trump SoHo downtown. They had odors from a new restaurant going different places and they used our system to break down the odors to make it cleaner,” he said. “We’re also in the Loews Madison Hotel in Washington and a Ritz-Carlton in Shanghai. Hotels are really catching on to this product and we see that sector growing as a tremendous result.”