Commercial Air Filters and the Clean Power Plan

Commercial Air Filters and the Clean Power Plan


The Clean Power Plan (CPP) was created in 2015 and set the first-ever national limits on carbon pollution from power plants in an effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Recently, the Environment Protection Agency (EPA) has proposed repealing the CPP.

Without these carbon pollution standards, it is likely the need for commercial air filters will increase significantly and will the demands on business owners to guard against pollution.

According to the CPP, coal-powered plants produce the largest source of carbon dioxide emission in the United States which is roughly 1/3 of all domestic greenhouse gas emissions. By transitioning to clean energy, carbon and air pollution decreased and public health improves every year.

CPP Means Big Public Health Benefits

A CPP fact sheet outlines how, by 2030, the plan would prevent:

-1,500 to 3,600 premature deaths
-90,000 asthma attacks in children
-up to 1,700 heart attacks
-1,700 hospital admissions
-300,000 missed school and work days

With CPP in place providing a transition to cleaner sources of energy, Americans and their businesses are better protected from air pollution. Sulfur dioxide from power plants will decrease as would emissions of nitrogen oxide. These pollutants in particular create dangerous levels of soot and smog that have led to thousands of premature deaths and hospitalizations every year.

CPP creates a partnership between the EPA, all United States, tribes and territories. The EPA sets a goal and the states and tribes choose how to meet it. EPA established goals including a rate-based state goal measured in pounds per megawatt hour; a mass-based state goal measured in total short tons of CO2; and a goal with a new source complement measured in total short tons of CO2. States can develop plans to achieve CO2 emissions performance rate goals by 2030.

EPA Emission Performance Rates

The EPA Clean Air Act determines the best system of emissions reduction (BSER) for any given pollutant. The BSER building blocks require companies to:

1. Reduce carbon intensity of electricity generation by improving the heat rate of existing coal-fired power plants.

2. Substitute increased electricity generation from lower-emitting existing natural gas plants for reduced generation from higher-emitting, coal-fired power plants.

3. Substitute increased electricity generation from new zero-emitting renewable energy sources, like wind and solar, for reduce generation from existing coal-fired power plants.

EPA has applied all building blocks to coal plants and natural gas power plants to produce regional emission performance rates for each category.

CPP provides guidelines for development, submittal and implementation of State plans to establish standards of performance rates.

States can choose between 2 plan types: Emission standards plan (ESP) and State measures plan (SMP). ESP provides source-specific requirements for all power plants to meet required emissions performance rates.

SMP improves residential energy efficiency not included as federally enforced components of the plan. State measures must result in power plants meeting their mass-based goal. Each state has the flexibility to select their preferred measures to achieve the CO2 emission performance rates. States can also trade emissions that allows power plants to integrate operations to address carbon pollution.

The Clean Power Plan gives states an opportunity for their communities to share the benefits of a clean energy economy including energy efficiency and renewable energy.

Early investors in wind and solar generation will be rewarded by the Clean Energy Incentive Program that makes allowances or emission rate credits available. EPA is also providing additional incentives that encourage energy efficiency investments in low-income communities.

To ensure opportunities for low-income communities, minority and tribal communities to participate in decision making, the EPA is requiring that states demonstrate how they are actively engaging with communities as part of their public participation process in the formulation of state plans.

The final rule includes information on communities living near power plants, and EPA will provide additional information to facilitate engagement between communities and states as implementation of CPP moves forward.

As implementation of the Clean Power Plan goes forward, the agency will conduct air quality evaluations to determine impacts that state plans may have on vulnerable communities.

What do Industrial Air Filter Manufacturers Need to Know?

With air pollution levels increasing, it falls upon industrial facility owners such as commercial buildings, airports and schools to keep outside air from entering as well as effectively filtering the air that does get in. Commercial air filtration devices can be installed on a building’s existing heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems.

Buildings owners are required to spend more money to seal structures and keep windows and doors closed. Even with this step, outdoor air comes through cracks in the walls, ceilings and floors and must be filtered.

One way to filter air pollutants is to use a High Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filter capable of capturing 99.97% for particles down to 0.3 microns in size. In this example, contaminants from coal emissions are rated as PM2.5 or smaller than 2.5 microns in size. This translates to about a hundredth of the width of a single strand of hair.

Choosing the right HEPA filter is critical as an efficient filtration system can cost you in multiple ways such as: wasted energy; more maintenance and repair costs; damaged equipment and unhealthy, unproductive employees.

What can an Air Filtration System Accomplish?

Air filters trap allergens and pollutants as well as hazardous contaminants and can blow back clean air into your working environment. Although there are a variety of commercial air filtration methods, they fall into 4 categories:

1. Diffusion is a filtration method when particles makes contact with highly porous media such as activate carbon.

2. When a particle makes contact with an air filter media due to a change in inertia, it is called interception. The combination of surface friction and static low pressure prevents particles from moving.

3. Electrostatic attraction is a filtration method using charged fibers that act like magnets to trap airborne particles.

4. The sieving, or straining approach uses filter media where any gap between mesh, fiber of metal is smaller than the particulate matter being captured.

Designing an effective air filtration system, with quality commercial air filters, is critical and best left up to experts who have done the job many times. Call EFS today at 800 796-4337 or visit their website.


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