St. John Properties Overhauls Air Filtration Across Maryland Office Portfolio

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Baltimore developer St. John Properties will outfit nearly 2.4 million square feet of its commercial office portfolio in Maryland with an ultraviolet (UV) whole-building air purification process, Commercial Observer has learned. 

The system, which is designed to significantly improve indoor air quality and reduce airborne contaminants, has or will be installed in 23 buildings, including properties in Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Harford, Howard and Prince George’s counties and Baltimore City. 

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“Indoor air quality is top-of-mind as companies and its employees began the migration back into the traditional office space environment, and we considered it our responsibility to take a leadership role in, and to provide assurances and peace of mind that our buildings contained the highest quality of air as possible,” Bill McFaul, St. John Properties’ senior vice president of property management, told CO. 

The purification process is a multi-step strategy that focuses on retrofitting a building’s HVAC system with UV-C light disinfecting equipment that eliminate airborne pathogens, including fungal spores, bacteria and multiple virus strains that circulate throughout interior environments. It also includes upgrading all HVAC air filters with higher-efficiency models and extending the HVAC operating times to create more frequent fresh air circulation.

“The goal is to completely recirculate indoor up to seven times each hour,” McFaul said. “The work will be completed both during and after traditional business operating hours in an effort to update the systems as quickly as possible.”   

The company is not releasing its investment commitment for the project, McFaul said. 

“Extensive research proves that higher-quality indoor air translates to healthier employees and more productive ones, including reducing absenteeism,” he said. 

A recent study by the American Journal of Infection Control found that UV-C light is effective in killing a significant percentage of the COVID-19 virus, completely inactivating the virus in nine minutes. 

Since December, St. John Properties has also upgraded more than 10,000 lighting fixtures throughout its portfolio with light-emitting diode (LED) equipment that provide significantly lower energy consumption, improved lifetimes and associated resource savings.