Garbage Room Ventilation
The odors emanating from apartment and condominium garbage rooms has been a problem for years and although I honestly think highly of engineers, you cannot continue to design garbage rooms in the same fashion as has been the norm for the last 40 years and expect to get a different result. The first method of exhausting air and introducing fresh air into the room had some effect, however the exhaust fan ran all the time. The amended design added a thermostat to turn the fan off when the room temperature reached set point. Since the rooms were heated with a furnace in the fall, winter and spring the exhaust fan would be off most of the time and when the fresh air did come in it had to be heated. The last time I checked... garbage still continues to smell whether a fan is on or off. The next design modification was to add an artificial scent into the garbage bins and into the air in the room. This fragrance was quite honestly more offensive than the smell of the garbage. The scent that was added had to be regularly replentished and maintained and there was an associated cost of this service. The next design added air conditioning and in some cases, refrigeration to the room in the thinking that cold garbage would not rot or decompose as fast and the odors would be lessened. Surprise, surprise, surprise as Gomer Pyle used to say... The result of this method was cold smelly garbage. When high rise buildings were apartment buildings only, the owner could dictate that no pets were allowed. No pets meant, NO FECES going down the garbage chute to the garbage room. Condominiums and legal rights to pet ownership changed this along with the "Green Initiative" to separate organic wastes from general waste products. On top of all these designs the air that was exhausted invariably wound up exiting the building right near or next to a tenants patio or window generating a constant source of complaints.
Throughout all the changes in design to the room and equipment for controlling the odors there was not one change to the style of the bins that the garbage was collected in. The lids still do not seal tight on full bins that are waiting for pick up and they all seem to leak any fluid waste all over the floor and loading area. When the garbage trucks come by to empty the bins there is a considerable amount of debris that misses the truck during the dump and the sound of the bin lids crashing closed could wake the dead.
The answer to the odor problem was not found in physics, but in chemistry. Everything on our planet has one common link which is DNA. If you change the DNA of any substance it is no longer the same substance. It may look the same but it will be altered. Scientists have found that odors can be eliminated by ultra-violet light in the same manner that mold, viruses and bacteria can be destroyed. Mold can only exist in dark and damp locations. If you expose mold to sunlight it dies. Sunlight is packed with many types of "UV" rays. It took a chemist to determine that "UVV and UVC" were the two types of ultra-violet light that were needed to destroy odors, mold, bacteria and viruses. This discovery brought about the Ultra-Violet Air Purifier. Odor laden air was circulated over the length of an ultra-violet lamp and voila! The odor was eliminated. Eliminated is the key... NOT MASKED. For years we have known that certain compounds such as baking soda and activated charcoal absorb odors and quite effectively. The question is, Why Absorb when Eliminate is better. For reference I did not fail either physics or chemistry in high school, but this still seemed a little bit Sci-Fi, Twilight Zone for me and I was skeptical. I required proof of the claims for odor elimination so I tested a residential version of the UV Air Purifier in my own home. If you have pets, cook your meals at home, paint your walls, varnish floors, smoke, sweat or fart, you have odors in your home. If your kids go to school they have brought home viruses. If you ever had a wet basement, you have mold. The air inside your home is of worse quality than the air outside, but we can't all live in teepees and can't afford to heat or cool multiple air changes in our homes. *Air Wick* and *Febreeze* would be out of business if every home had the unit I installed on my furnace. I was still in need of further proof and installed the same model of unit on my office duct system where I have been known to enjoy a cigar or two when the staff leaves. I was now a believer that this invention was the greatest since sliced bread and Viagra. When I was called by one of my customers with a garbage room odor problem, I stuck my neck out and offered the commercial model that I had not tried, on the promise that if it did not perform I would take it back and charge nothing for the equipment or labor. I did not have to take it back and I was paid in full. I have since made the same offer to other customers and not had to take one back. The product is made by "Sanuvox" and they have a full range of products from portable units, ceiling grid units for office kitchenettes or washrooms, garbage room units and very large units for large office building cooling systems. All the engineering data and product information can be found on their web site at www.sanuvox.com
. I have never had the full confidence in a product to endorse their system until I tested the units myself.
With the addition of the Sanuvox garbage room unit we were able to reduce the speed of the existing garbage room exhaust fan, remove the thermostat that controlled the fan so it would operate 24/7 and completely close the fresh air dampers. The constant exhaust created a negative pressure in the room, but more importantly a negative pressure in the garbage chute and shaft. The negative pressure stopped dust blowing out into residents faces when they opened the chute to dispose of garbage, prevented odor migration back into the halls, outside of the garbage room and stopped the updraft up the shaft that often carried garbage with the up flow of air. The reduction of exhaust air to outdoors reduced the odors outdoors and the energy costs to heat or in some cases, cool the room were reduced because there was less outdoor fresh air infiltration into the room. The scented odorizers were discontinued and life was once again good and meaningful.