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New air cleaning systems installed in residence halls to improve air quality

For many students, their first few years are spent in the residence halls. PSU’s residence halls have undergone significant renovations, restorations and expansions over the past decade to improve the quality of life for students in the dorms.  

Recently, as part of the improvements made to the residence halls, new air cleaning systems were installed by University Housing over the break before the Spring semester. 

“It gives us a greatly improved air quality in the residence halls and the individual sleeping rooms, bathrooms, and common areas,” said Steve Erwin, vice president of Student Life, the division that includes University Housing. “…we were able to move fairly quickly in the process from there and the majority if not all of them were installed before students returned for the spring semester. So, we took advantage of the extended period of time of student absence after thanksgiving through the start of the spring semester to get them resolved.” 

The devices are a part of a system called Synexis Biodefence System which fights viruses, bacteria, mold, odors and insects by producing safe levels of Dry Hydrogen Peroxide (DHP). DHP breaks down pathogens and microbes both in the air and on surfaces while flowing continuously throughout the indoor spaces. The new system will be beneficial throughout the year, but also brings additional safety to students during the pandemic. 

“The basic science behind them… was really the premise for our installation,” Erwin said. “Just the basic premise of what they’re designed to do and that is to combat microbes, viruses, mold and mildew spores, and those kinds of things in the air.  The fact that the pandemic… intersected with this obviously is of benefit. There is some element of these too that neutralize odors and just make for better overall air quality so that was a benefit as well.” 

Amelia Stutz, freshman in nursing, lives in Tanner Hall and believes the air cleaning system will benefit the students. 

“I think it will make the dorm environment much cleaner and safer for all the students in there,” Stutz said. “… they’ve done research on different air filters for dorms… so they’re doing it for a good reason.”                                

Darshil Limbasiya, freshman in biology, lives in Willard Hall on campus and believes the installation of the Synexis Biodefence System shows a commitment from PSU to the health and safety of its students. 

“I think it shows that PSU cares about the safety and health of the student especially during this time of COVID-19,” Limbasiya said. “…I assume that having these will improve the campus safety and health.” 

The devices have been installed in “essentially all spaces” of residence halls, according to Erwin with the exception of apartment style living accommodation at the Crimson Villas, Block 22, or the family housing units. However, Erwin said installation in those spaces is likely to be done before the start of the next fall semester along with other behind-the-scenes projects aimed at improving student life at the dorms. 

“We continue to work on the general condition, we’ve got a lot of behind the scenes projects that students don’t always see but will benefit them in the results,” Erwin said.  

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