The following article first appeared in Contracting Business on Apr. 28, 2021.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, New York City became known as “ground zero,” due to the high numbers of cases and deaths attributed to the virus. In response, HVAC contractors in and around the New York metropolitan area have been on unending high alert since the earliest days of the pandemic, providing indoor air quality advice and solutions for buildings that remained open, and now, for those that are reopening for public use.
One of those leading solutions providers is Gil-Bar, based in mid-town Manhattan. Never at rest, this team tackles more than 5,000 HVAC projects in any given year – and up to 40% of all custom HVAC work in New York City. Additional offices are based in New Jersey and Pennsylvania.
Gil-Bar was founded in 1986 by Joe Sbarra and John Gill. Both men are still involved in the company, doing all it takes to keep customers’ air clean and their spaces cool and comfortable.
Twelve-year partner Chris Bisaccia spoke with Contracting Business to describe the firm’s history in indoor air quality, which has been a company specialty for the past 15 years, in commercial high-end properties and high-end multi-family residential buildings.
The COVID-19 pandemic took indoor air quality awareness to a whole new level, and Gil-Bar doubled down on its IAQ commitment.
“Gil-Bar continues to expand into other territories,” Bisaccia said. “For decades we have worked with many hospitals, schools and laboratories throughout the metro areas of New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania, to enhance their filtration and provide the best solutions to keep air pathways clean and to acceptable standards.”
One of Gil-Bar’s preferred recommendations for enhancing indoor air quality is the HealthWay Disinfecting Filtration System (DFS) The HealthWay DFS has been in use by the New York City Department of Education, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Lincoln Center and many surrounding areas during this pandemic. These plug-and-play, portable, high-efficiency filtration machines are locally stocked and available immediately. The filtration machines can also be integrated into an existing air duct system.
We started working with the HealthWay family of brands before COVID, about a year-and-a-half ago, as we were continuing everything we were working on, bringing better innovative products to the marketplace. It’s a very efficient way to clean the air with HEPA-type filtration, in an energy efficient manner. Also, we wanted to bring portable air cleaners to the marketplace, increase air changes per hour, and add contaminant “capture and kill” technology, including capture of .03 microns with HEPA-type filtration.
Bisaccia said HealthWay has a scalable line of solutions for almost any indoor environment, from a small bedroom to a large building.
“Their technology is individually and independently tested to provide the highest level of particulate efficiency with the lowest pressure drop of any system we have tested or seen in the industry, making it adaptable to almost any application in our market. The technology not only captures the smallest ultrafine particles, but also eliminates the likelihood of microbial growth in the filter and has been tested to all safety standards,” Bisaccia explained.
HealthWay first began offering IAQ products in 1981, with electrostatic attraction. Subsequent offerings included HEPA/ULPA filters, UV, air exchange, electrically-enhanced mechanical filters, and a photocatalytic product.
The HealthWay DFS uses patented technology developed through a United States Military Grant combating germ warfare. The technology is individually tested to guarantee better than HEPA efficiency, capturing 99.99% of all particles down to .007 micron in size. DFS also prevents microbial growth inside the filter through microbial inhibition, according to HealthWay.
Gil-Bar has installed thousands of HealthWay DFS units.
“We’ve installed it in every major market sector, from healthcare, to financial locations, commercial spaces, residential applications, vaccination centers, restaurants and classrooms, as an in-line ductwork solutions or portable unit.”
Bisaccia said the inline installation uses the same technology as the portable units and can be modified to be installed in an air handler. The team also employs other more traditional methods, such as UV-C and HEPA filtration.
“We typically bring options to our client base, so they can look at it from an engineering perspective and understand what the best solution is, to complement the existing system. Much of the time it will be a combination of different types of systems. When you’re looking at a commercial space, it’s important to understand what options are available, and how to use them in a cost-effective manner, without compromising energy efficiency, and making sure you understand what you’re trying to accomplish, based on the way you use your space, to make sure you get the proper filtration, and the end-user gets the results they’re looking for.”
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