This week on Take Care, Martin Mittelmark, CEO of Phytofilter Technologies in Saratoga Springs, talks about a new developing technology that uses plants to remove germs, pollen, mold and cancer-causing chemicals from the air.
Click "Read More" to hear our interview with Martin Mittelmark.
The average American spends approximately 90 percent of their time indoors, but studies conducted by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) show that indoor air pollutant levels may be two to five times higher than outdoor levels. In fact, indoor air pollutants rank among the top five environmental risks to public health.
This is exactly what prompted Mittelmark and his company to use technology first developed by NASA to create a natural, sustainable way to purify indoor air.
Mittelmark explains that although plants are a very effective way to purify air, they aren’t very practical to keep in large quantities inside buildings. He says this is why NASA developed a way to minimize the number of plants needed, and this is the technology his company is using.
“Because basically plants take up space, NASA came up with an invention whereby they grew plants in a more porous soil and they used an induction fan which pulled a hundred times more air, polluted air, down to where the root microbe are,” he said. “So suddenly, one plant could do what a hundred plants could do before.”
Mittelmark says that not only are plants more effective at purifying air, they can also be more cost effective. He explains that mechanical air purifiers pull only some of these hazardous elements from the air, whereas plants can extract them all. In a mechanical system, these pollutants are placed in a filter that will periodically need to be changed. He says that that over the life of the unit, constantly replacing these filters can cost almost twice the amount of the unit itself. But, he continues, plant based systems bioregenerate.
“In other words, those friendly microbes near the roots of the plant actually clean out the filter so it never needs replacement,” he said.
Phytofilter Technologies is working with NYSERDA who offers a low-interest loan program to non-profit and small business to help them install energy saving devices in their buildings. The idea is that the energy savings will eventually pay off any cost of installation.