The U.S. Department of Defense has installed anti-microbial-coated copper components into the HVAC systems at a South Carolina military base.
Troops stationed at Fort Jackson in
Columbia, S.C., will be among the first to see if treated copper in an HVAC
system can prevent mold and bacteria.
The U.S. Department of Defense has
installed anti-microbial-coated copper components into the HVAC systems at Fort
Jackson’s barracks to see if the treated copper can reduce or eliminate the
odors that result from the fungus that typically grows on wet, moist aluminum
HVAC equipment. Instead of aluminum, the barracks’ HVAC systems include copper
cooling coils, heat-exchange fins and drip pans made by
The University of Southern Carolina
is leading the study. Charles Feigley, Ph.D., a professor of environmental health sciences there,
said the energy efficiency of newer structures contributes to the problem.
“Improvements in building and construction methods have
generally led to increased energy efficiency, but at the same time, these
tighter building ‘envelopes’ tend to trap bacteria, leading to odors,” Feigley
said. “The results of this real-world trial should encourage advancements in
the design of HVAC systems.”
The Copper Development Association is seeking
Environmental Protection Agency approval of copper alloys for use in protecting
HVAC components, and the research may help the effort.
Defense Dept. funds research into copper's germ-fighting potential
July 27, 2009