TIAX Awarded Contract by National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences

Project calls for development of advanced humidity control system to help reduce indoor allergens. 

TIAX announced today that it has been awarded a grant by the National Institute of Environmental Health Science (NIEHS) to design a commercially feasible humidity control system that will reduce allergen levels, specifically related to dust mites in the home. The $98,249 Phase I grant, contract number HHSN291200445523C, was awarded to TIAX through the NIEHS Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program.

“We are excited to be working with the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences on a project that could remedy a recurring problem in many American homes,” said TIAX President Kenan Sahin. “The development of an affordable system, which effectively regulates air quality, will help ensure a healthier home environment and alleviate many of the symptoms associated with indoor allergies and asthma.”

Dust mites, which are microscopic organisms, can be found in many environments, but thrive in areas where humidity levels reach 60 percent or higher and human dander is prevalent, such as the home. As part of the project, TIAX is researching the relationship between dust mites and humidity levels using PlaceLab, an apartment-scale research facility, which is a Massachusetts Institute of Technology and TIAX initiative.

The goal of the project is to create a more cost-effective dehumidifier that can be easily integrated into a home’s central air conditioning system to reduce humidity levels.
While current cooling systems are effective under many conditions, when temperature and humidity levels are high, such as in the summer, conventional air conditioners often prove inadequate. In addition to reducing dust mites, low humidity levels also prevent mold growth.

The dehumidifier that TIAX proposes would be an innovative, lower cost design that will increase the humidity removal capacity to at least two times greater than that of the current home air conditioning system. For a three-month period, TIAX will test the dehumidifier at PlaceLab to determine whether it effectively reduces dust mite populations and is commercially viable.