New York regional bank invests in safety with air purification system
Pioneer Bank has taken a proactive approach to indoor air quality across its network.
The Albany-based bank installed about 40 Air Knight IPG air purification systems across its 22 branch locations and headquarters. The air purification units are able to reduce airborne viral and bacterial particles such as the novel coronavirus, according to the company.
"COVID prompted the decision,” said Neil Walsh, security and facilities administration officer, Pioneer Bank. “We wanted to do everything we possibly could to not only make our customers safe, but to make our employees safe too."
Walsh noted that the systems were an investment.
"If you're going to spend a good chunk of money, you may as well do the best you can and get the best equipment possible,” said Walsh, who added that the single unit cost was reasonable. He acknowledged that as a bigger company with multiple units at the headquarters and each branch location the total price did add up.
"To justify it budgetarily, we offset the cost by holding back on some construction projects … but in light of everything that's happened this year, they may or may not have gotten done anyway," Walsh said.
Since the units were installed this past summer, Walsh said that the bank has been able to notice a difference and that the air seems fresher. In the couple of months that have passed, he described the lack of negative feedback as a good thing.
"I have heard a few people say, especially here at the headquarters, that [the air] does seem fresher,” he added.
While Pioneer's decision to install whole-building air purification systems was motivated by COVID-19, the decision to install the units will have long-term benefits as well.
"You don't want other particles flying around in the air or anything that might come from paint or asbestos or mold or any of those kinds of things," Walsh said. “This will be true in a post-pandemic world as well–meaning changes made now in a time of need can and will have a lasting health effect.”
Indoor air quality and its importance are not new. However, the pandemic has given the industry newfound value. COVID-19 has highlighted flaws within indoor spaces that, otherwise, would have continued to go largely overlooked.
"HVAC systems can be utilized to manage risks associated with pathogens in a space,” said Rob Ambrosetti, certified indoor environmental consultant and training director at KGG Consulting. He explained that that the addition of an air purification system improves the air quality in existing systems.
"When looking at air purifiers, it's important to find one that's been third-party tested and validated against COVID-19,” he said. “There are so many devices on the market, that you want to be sure that the technology is proven and the Air Knight IPG technology is exactly that."