3 Ways Hotels Can Enhance Indoor Air Quality With HVAC Systems

3 Ways Hotels Can Enhance Indoor Air Quality With HVAC Systems

Due to many converging factors in recent years, the importance of indoor air quality has steadily grown. Americans are spending more time indoors than ever before, highlighting the need to prioritize technologies that advance IAQ.

Travel and tourism has largely recovered from the COVID-19 pandemic, and demand will likely surpass pre-pandemic levels in the near future. But travelers still expect peace of mind, and the hospitality industry must adopt a proactive approach to addressing IAQ concerns.

Luckily, innovations in HVAC technology can help building managers meet their air quality goals and keep guests comfortable.

The Growing Significance of Indoor Air Quality in the Hospitality Industry

While some may view COVID-19 as a concern of the past, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates that Americans are indoors 90% of the time, increasing exposure to all kinds of airborne particles. IAQ research is a growing field that has only just begun to unearth ways to mitigate the risks of time spent indoors.

Airborne Illnesses

Consider that approximately half of common cold and flu cases are transmitted through the air. Since 2020, the United States has seen spikes in viruses such as H1N1, RSV and SARS-CoV-2 — all airborne pathogens. Travelers seek indoor environments that promote good health, and many recognize the significant impact that IAQ can have on their overall experience.

Increase in Travel

According to a recent survey, travel rates began to climb back to pre-pandemic numbers in 2023. However, the COVID-19 pandemic has fundamentally reshaped consumer travel habits, placing a strong emphasis on safety, hygiene and flexibility. Travel companies have responded by implementing stringent health protocols to ensure customers feel safe, and IAQ is one area that shows opportunity for hoteliers.

IAQ Features in GE Appliances Air & Water Solutions PTAC and VTAC Units

GE Appliances Air & Water Solutions recognizes the demand for options that facilities and building operations managers can turn to in their search for better IAQ. That’s why multiple features that promote better indoor air have been added to the established Zoneline® PTAC and VTAC air conditioners.

Unfamiliar with the Zoneline brand? Here are a few reasons it’s the trusted option for thousands of hoteliers:

  • Available in PTAC and VTAC series

  • Unrivaled reliability and consistent performance

  • Quiet and smooth unit operation

  • Easy installation and serviceability features

GE Appliances has continued to build upon the success of Zoneline by incorporating innovations in the latest units to help customers achieve optimal indoor air quality.

Here are three ways hotels can improve IAQ with HVAC systems.

1. UV-C Light Technology

In the quest to enhance indoor air quality, UV-C, or ultraviolet-C, light technology is a game-changer. GE Appliances Air & Water Solutions is improving indoor air quality for hotel guests by incorporating UV-C light technology in GE Zoneline PTACs.

Using a high-powered LED array for maximum intensity and efficiency, this technology applies UV-C light to air as it passes through the unit. The technology is focused and channeled on the PTAC fan blade, where most air movement occurs, to reduce airborne virus concentrations.

This industry-leading technology eliminates an average of 93.3% of persisting airborne diseases within the span of 180 minutes. UV-C light technology is also a UL-approved solution with safety certifications.*

  • This cutting-edge technology is now available in eight designated Zoneline PTAC models.

  • It is also available as a universal fit kit that can be retrofitted to existing Zoneline PTACs, providing building managers and hospitality industry professionals with a powerful indoor air quality option for upgrading an existing fleet.

2. Makeup Air

Makeup air technology is another crucial component of GE Appliances Air & Water Solutions’ commitment to meeting hospitality managers’ IAQ needs. According to the EPA, indoor air can be two to five times more polluted than outdoor air. Therefore, increasing the outdoor air supply is generally better for IAQ.

Unlike traditional ventilation systems that can be difficult to control or that rely on actions taken on behalf of a room’s occupant, GE Appliances’ makeup air technology is designed to automatically deliver precise volumes of fresh outdoor air to indoor spaces. This approach consistently cycles indoor air out of the room and enhances the energy efficiency of an HVAC system, making it a cost-effective and sustainable solution for the hospitality industry.

  • Both heat pump and electric heating and cooling GE Zoneline PTACs have the option for makeup air capabilities.

  • This technology is standard in the latest VTAC option, the GE Zoneline UltimateV12™. On the UltimateV12, a dedicated variable speed fan allows for the delivery of room-specific volumes of conditioned makeup air, up to 70 SCFM.

Does increasing outdoor air make HVAC systems less efficient?

While there are general concerns in the industry over the implications that this additional outdoor air supply has on the operating cost of the HVAC system, makeup air delivery in these units can be cycled based on occupancy using a compatible occupancy-detecting thermostat. Occupancy-based cycling is an exciting advancement in both IAQ and energy efficiency, ensuring systems incorporate fresh air and keep costs down.

3. MERV 13 Filter Kit

While makeup air is undoubtedly an advancement in the way buildings cycle through indoor air, the quality of the air that passes through each unit as it makes its way into a room is also important.

To add another layer of protection to incoming outdoor air, the optional RAA13V makeup air filter provides MERV 13 filtration that stops most dust, pollen, mold, bacteria, viruses and other airborne pathogens from entering the room.

These filters are available to treat makeup air on applicable GE Zoneline PTAC and GE Zoneline UltimateV12 VTAC units.

Get in Touch

As indoor air quality gains significance in building operations management, the hospitality industry faces a crucial need to address IAQ concerns. GE Appliances Air & Water Solutions innovations offer a layered, effective approach for hoteliers.

The demand for travel should continue to rise. Incorporating measures such as UV-C treatment, makeup air and filtration help ensure guests can enjoy a comfortable indoor environment. Ultimately, these solutions also help building managers capitalize on the upward trajectory of the travel industry.

Contact us to get Zoneline PTAC or VTAC units in your building today.

*GE Appliances tested a Phi-X174 bacteriophage virus, nebulized in a sealed test chamber (10' × 10' × 10' [1,000 ft3]) with an average temperature of 68°F and relative humidity of 50.3%. Air sampling was taken every 30 minutes with the Zoneline PTAC on high speed with a new UV-C kit active over three hours and compared to natural decay results. Testing was conducted at a nationally accredited laboratory.