Page 111 - IT_13.4

Basic HTML Version

INDUSTRY TODAY 111
CIRCUL-AIRE • PROFILE
E HAVE MET THE ENEMY AND
he is us.”
Cartoonist Walt Kelly first penned
that quote in a 1960s “Pogo” comic
panel and later lent it to a 1970 Earth
Day poster. Thanks to environmentally conscious and responsi-
ble companies such as Circul-Aire Inc. we now know just how
true that statement is.
The Montreal-based business has revealed the full extent upon
which we negatively impact our environment – and it goes
beyond littering, wasting resources and compromising the
ecosystem. The air that we breathe is infested with contaminants
and, believe it or not, human beings represent one of the largest
contaminant sources. And this is not just because of the prod-
ucts we use (e.g., underarm deodorants that contain aluminum
oxide, the fingernail polish remover that contains acetone, the
perfumes and colognes that gain their effect through volatile
organic compounds, among so many others). It also has to do
with our biology: No matter how much we try to set ourselves
above the world we live in or deny our basic human physical con-
dition, our bodies emit certain ammonias and gases. And no
deodorant spray or perfume will hide the fact that we’re a mam-
mal (indeed, usage only adds to the problem).
“We comprise about 25 percent of the indoor air problem,”
indicates Nick Agopian, vice president of sales for Circul-Aire,
underscoring this eye-opening information. “There are a lot of
things we off-gas simply being a human. Face it, we represent a
huge contaminant load.”
But it’s also the things we produce and the work environments
we’ve created for ourselves. Agopian supplies just two examples:
• That new-car smell that people profess to love so much: When
you breathe in the aroma, you’re filling your lungs with a poi-
sonous mixture.
• People working in commercial and corporate office buildings
develop respiratory symptoms at an alarming rate because of
poor indoor air quality.
The message is that people don’t realize just how ubiquitous
airborne contaminants are. If they did, they’d probably sell the
home and head to a distant, remote mountain in a more pristine
environment. Agopian understands the impulse. But he hasn’t
yet bought his ticket to Tibet. After all, he has an inside track;
he knows that the company he works for strives to make the
world a safer place, in terms of air quality. Circul-Aire develops
and manufactures indoor air treatment solutions designed to
optimize health, comfort and productivity – in other words, qual-
ity of life.
BORN IN THE ‘60S
Established in the mid-1960s, Circul-Aire was on the job early.
The company metaphorically pointed its nose into the air, not
only to see which way the breeze blew but also to sniff out any
toxins. “During its first year in 1965, the company was involved
in the air business,” says Agopian.
Essentially, this meant development of technology involved
with moving air. At first a component provider, the company
offered particulate filtration and cooling and heating in a single
package. As the world moved forward, the company perceived
for itself a significantly expanded mission, seeking the true
“invisible enemy”: carcinogens – or, again, contaminants –
which are invisible because of their microscopic size.
By the end of the decade, the company made a significant
shift, into gas-phase filtration. “Now the company is not only
focused on moving air but it became involved in everything
associated with purifying air,” Agopian relates.
During its course, the company shifted from activator carbon
technology (which works on simple absorption that absorbs and
holds a contaminant) to the more effective chemical absorption,
which absorbs and then chemically destroys the contaminant.
This involves neutralization. “With any challenging contami-
nant, you find its weakest link and use that to break it down,”
describes Agopian. “If there’s acid in the air, we impregnate it
with a base. If there’s mercury, we impregnate with iodine, which
breaks down mercury. That’s how it works.”
This promotes versatility as far as applications and goes well
beyond what activator carbon technology can do. “Rather than
just absorbing certain contaminant types, you can mix and match
different chemicals and solid matrices, no matter the contami-
nant,” says Agopian.
Circul-Aire continued moving forward in taming contami-
nants, but it took awhile for the world to catch up. “A quarter of
a century after we got involved in this, people finally realized
that contaminants need to be controlled,” says Agopian.
PART OF DECTRON
When you’re successful at what you do, it’s inevitable that
you’ll attract the interest of a major corporation. And that’s
what happened with Circul-Aire, which became an integral
part of Dectron Internationale, a Montreal-headquartered
conglomerate that addresses not only filtration but cooling,
heating, air conditioning, and humidification and de-humidifi-
cation. “Dectron Internationale is the world’s only company
that demonstrates such comprehensiveness,” says Agopian.
“Some companies only focus on air conditioning, while others
focus solely on filtration, humidification or other areas. Dectron
does it all.”
Specifically, Dectron Internationale, a global provider of
indoor air quality and HVAC-R products and services to a range
of industries and markets, offers the only multi-disciplinary
approach that results in a single-source responsibility for meet-
ing or exceeding standards established by the American Society
of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers
(ASHRAE).
Credit this approach to Ness Lakdawala, Dectron’s president
and chief executive off icer. The Dectron structure brings
together like-minded companies, each with a solid track record
of providing air-treatment and filtration equipment. Along with