Product gets approval from SCEIP; 56 units installed by Codding

[caption id="attachment_19930" align="alignright" width="288" caption="AspenAir filters become more efficient as they collect more particles; so they do not require changing as often."][/caption]

ROHNERT PARK – AspenAir, the air filtration system provider that has touted the health benefits of clean indoor air and increased efficiency of HVAC equipment, has another arrow in its quiver: energy savings.

The Martinez- and Rohnert Park-based company has been accepted by the Sonoma County Energy Independence Program as the only air quality device to receive funding along with energy upgrades like solar heat, solar thermal and insulated roofs.

AspenAir has also gained an important commercial customer in Codding Enterprises, which is showcasing green-building technologies in its Rohnert  Park construction.

"We hired an independent energy consulting firm to confirm what we already suspected, that AspenAir makes a significant reduction of power used to heat, ventilate and air condition interiors," said Mike Gunion, AspenAir president and CEO.

Results showed the air filtration devices knocked 30 percent off energy use while delivering 65 percent more BTUs of power than traditional filtration systems.

The Department of Energy reports that HVAC systems represent 50 percent of total energy use in homes and commercial buildings.

AspenAir's technology employs a high-voltage ion chamber that electronically charges and polarizes particles, causing them to agglomerate on a filter medium. Unlike traditional filters, the AspenAir filter becomes more efficient as it collects more particles, so it doesn't require changing as often.

"As traditional filters clog up – and 50 percent of HVAC users don't change the filters as often as they need to – more power is necessary to force air through the particulate matter, so energy use increases," said Mr. Gunion.

Armed with the AspenAir study results, Mr. Gunion went to SCEIP and received its approval. Homeowners can now borrow the cost of installation – $800 to $1,200 – and pay it off in assessments to their property taxes.

AspenAir is currently working with Energy Star to include its systems in its highest rating and with the Consortium of Energy Efficiency to extend federal and state incentives and rebates to its customers.

Codding Enterprises has installed AspenAir systems in 56 units at the Sonoma Mountain Business Park.

"Our next target is schools. We're doing a pilot project with a school system in the Central Valley, where our systems should be able to save 60 percent of their HVAC energy bill, or about $1 million a year," said Mr. Gunion.

Six-employee AspenAir, which got a jump start from the North Bay Angels in 2005, is not yet profitable.

"We're closing a Series C round now and should be break even by the end of this year or in 2011," he said.

"With companies trying to cut costs across the board, we see a lot of growth for our commercial market. Green, clean and cost-saving is what everyone wants."