Air Filters and HEPA filters are often bought with little or no thought of how much energy will be needed to move air through the filter. Many of the people I speak with are surprised to learn that a MERV-11 and some MERV-13 filtersactually are less demanding of energy than the MERV-8 pleat or panel filters they use. Because air filters don’t “plug-in” it’s easy to forget just how much energy they cost you.
We’ve been blessed in the United States with relatively low energy costs, with half the country paying under 10 cents per kWh according the the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Over in Europe the electric rates aren’t quite as nice so the inclusion of energy use goes into most decisions made in facility management so Eurovent (their counterpart to ASHRAE) has an annual energy consumption test procedure so facility managers can compare through a third party test method how different filters will impact their annual energy consumption.
The above chart shows an overview of the grading scale that Eurovent uses to label the filters that are tested under that protocol. But how is this information useful to you in the United States since we don’t have this testing? Well, if your filter company is a global manufacturer, there are only a few with the largest being Camfil, then you should be able to request a test report for their corresponding product that is sold in Europe, or if you feel like spending some time getting much more familiar with EN779 you can visit www.Eurovent-Certification.com and look it up yourself. This is another big advantage of EN779 over ASHRAE 52.2 - free online reporting that anyone can view. Currently 52.2 testing is done by companies hired by a filter manufacturer with no oversight from ASHRAE which has led to some questionable test reports being created making the entire MERV system questionable.