Smart Air Installs Custom HVAC Air Purification System at The University of Chicago Center in Delhi

The Problem

The University of Chicago Center in Delhi contacted Smart Air during the summer of 2016 to design and install a purification system in their 17,000 square foot office located in central Delhi. Despite it’s great location, the U Chicago Center had a problem of high particulate matter inside the building. Like love, air pollution knows no boundaries and affects rich and poor alike. Adding to the problem, there is a multi-story parking garage behind this building that generates a lot of vehicle pollution.

The Building Situation

U Chicago wanted to purify their air using their central air system, rather than installing multiple standalone purifiers around the office. Standalone purifiers are often cheaper, but they take up space. Smart Air designed a system that could be hidden in the false ceiling of the building and integrated into the air conditioning system the building already had.

The Design

Smart Air’s engineering team designed a custom purifier system. The office already had an air conditioning system, but it was taking polluted air from the outside, cooling it, and distributing it throughout the building. That meant the first job was to purify the incoming air.

Smart Air built a custom air purification unit with HEPA filters and installed it at the inlet duct of the air conditioning system. This made sure that clean air was getting into the air conditioning system.

Another issue was that polluted outdoor air leaks into the office around doors and windows. To tackle this problem, Smart Air installed another large purifier in the ceiling to continuously clean the inside air. This entire setup is hidden and works silently behind the scenes.

Here is the entire story in pictures:


Does it Work?

Smart Air tested the air in the building before and after installing the purifier system. Smart Air has also published open-data comparison tests of these air quality monitors against the US government gold standard PM2.5 detectors, so we know they are accurate. In the morning before the purifiers were installed, indoor air was at 39 micrograms. The World Health Organization’s annual safety limit is 10 micrograms!

After all the work was done, the air inside got down to a pristine 3 micrograms:

When we visited again in 2017, we compared indoor and outdoor air. Even with lots of people coming and going from the office, indoor air had just 25% of the particulates of outdoor air.

We also provided U Chicago with an air quality monitor so they can track their air quality.

The Cost

Smart Air believes that if most people saw the data behind purifiers, they wouldn’t pay hundreds of thousands of Rupees for clean air. Air purifier technology is simple—fans and HEPA filters. But big companies charge high fees because many people are scared and don’t understand how air purifiers work. Smart Air is a social enterprise that is dedicated to open data and transparent testing. Because of our social mission (and because we cut out the distributor and retail middlemen), Smart Air can design top-notch purifier systems at half the cost of purely for-profit companies.


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Smart Air is a social enterprise that creates simple, no-nonsense air purifiers and provides free education to protect people’s health from the effects of air pollution. We are proud to be the only certified B-Corp dedicated to fighting air pollution.

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