The Business Times: Bringing Clean Air into Offices

Tuesday September 22nd, 2009 2009, In the News

Our greatest desire is for the whole of Singapore to be covered in enzymes so that nothing will corrode and energy costs will go down.”

— Mr. Ong Wei Ping, Executve Director of IEQ Global Pte Ltd

 JAMIE LEE meets the partners of IEQ Global who aim to improve Singapore’s indoor environment

THE founders of IEQ Global are passionate about getting rid of dust particles. The company, brainchild of two grandsons of retail magnate CK Tang – Jeffrey and Keith Tang – works closely with corporate clients and households alike to dramatically improve the quality of their office and living space environment.

Their aim is to bring the clean and fresh air that the two brothers experienced in New Zealand back to Singapore.

Both had previously been based in New Zealand for about 16 years running a chain of hotels known as Heritage Hotel.

The hotel group was started with the $50 million that the family received after their father, the late Tang Wee Cheng, gave up control of Dynasty Hotel to their uncles.

The brothers began looking at ways to improve the indoor environment since Singapore is ‘very indoors, very air-conditioned’, said managing director Jeffrey Tang in a recent interview with The Business Times. He noted that much of the pollution in Singapore was due to external factors such as forest fires in Indonesia.

In the two years since its formation, IEQ has grown and now sits on an annual revenue of $2.1 million. It has offices in Indonesia and New Zealand, and a staff strength of 40.

One key product the group markets is Healthway, an air purification system that ‘looks like R2-D2′, quipped Mr Tang who says it eliminates germs and dust better than other air purifiers currently in the market.

‘You do have a lot of purifiers in the market, but at the end of the day, most of the machines out there only trap (dust particles), whereas ours will kill,’ said Mr Tang. He explained that the most efficient machines currently available can only remove about 90 per cent of the particles, while IEQ’s Healthway is guaranteed to remove nearly all of the particles.

Costing under $2,000, the purifying machine has four layers of filters, including two layers to trap large air-borne particles such as smoke and paint odours, as well as another layer to kill all particles that are at least 0.3 microns in size, thereby releasing clean air that is akin to what customers at oxygen spas inhale.

‘In times of H1N1 and avian flu, it will ensure that anything up to that size is completely destroyed,’ said Mr Ong.

‘While I can’t guarantee that 100 per cent of the destruction will be of viruses, I can guarantee you that nothing comes out alive,’ he added.

Besides targeting corporate customers with this device, the company has designed a smaller version that is half the price to be sold to individuals and families through word-of-mouth marketing.

The company – which is the indoor air quality consultant to Parliament House and the Monetary Authority of Singapore – also investigates clients’ air quality issues.

In one instance, a check of a client’s air-conditioning duct unveiled a 1977 copy of The Straits Times, indicating that the ducts had not been cleaned for more than 30 years.

During their investigations, the team has also found the decomposed carcasses of dead animals and rodents in the ducts.

IEQ also provides services to protect the air-conditioning system from corrosion. This is done by coating the coils with enzymes that eat up bio-film, said Mr Tang, adding that buildings such as Riverside Point and Marriott Singapore Hotel have reported savings of as much as 10 per cent in monthly air conditioning costs after the treatment.

‘Our greatest desire is for the whole of Singapore to be covered in enzymes so that nothing will corrode and energy costs will go down,’ he said.

IEQ – which has been invited to be a founding member of the Singapore Green Building Council – is currently looking to expand into the South-east Asian region through joint ventures.


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