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What’s that unpleasant smell? A tenant at an Oak Ridge, Tennessee commercial building, which houses many government agencies and is managed by R&R Properties, complained about a lingering, disagreeable odor that smelled like burning rubber. Property manager, Linda Redmond visited the building and deduced that one of the HVAC units may have thrown a belt. “I called my HVAC company who immediately checked out the units and they could not find anything amiss,” said Redmond, who has over 23 years of property management experience. “Do you think it’s a skunk,” asked the tenant from the property at 105 Mitchell Road.
Redmond initially dismissed the notion that this malodorous odor was skunk-induced. That all changed, when she visited the building the next morning and found that the odor had grown even more pungent. “At first I thought the smell was a combination of rotten bananas and burning rubber but when I went outside to the HVAC mechanical room, I realized my tenant was right all along. I definitely smelled skunk,” said Redmond.
Linda Redmond went online to research how to remove skunk smell from a building. She went to the local pet supply store and purchased a bottle of odor remover. When she returned to the building, she sniffed out the skunk smell and traced it to an electrical outlet in the office wall.
“I then realized the skunk had sprayed inside the wall,” said Redmond. Eight feet of sheetrock, all the insulation and the carpet were removed and the concrete was sprayed with the odor remover. Redmond then uncovered a hole underneath the ductwork coming into building. “My team set two live animal traps outside the mechanical room and we caught two skunks in one trap,” said Redmond. The trapped skunks sprayed in the trap and the odor got circulated into the fresh air intake. The entire building now reeked of freshly trapped skunks.
“The skunks were clearly winning the battle and the store-bought odor removers were not providing any relief,” said Redmond. Ambius, www.ambius.com, which offers a full spectrum of services to enhance the interior space for the hospitality, healthcare, retail, and commercial industries, was providing plantscaping services for R&R Properties. Al Martin, Vice President for Ambius serving Knoxville/Nashville/Charlotte, and Amy Barnett, Ambius Sales and Design Consultant who manages the account, recommended that R&R Properties use the company’s ambient scent and odor remediation service called Microfresh.
“I greatly respect my Ambius team and they have always gone above and beyond in their plantscaping services for our buildings, but I was quite skeptical about Microfresh,” said Redmond. “It sounded like it was just too good to be true and I was worried that the system might aggravate allergies or be too perfume-like. However, desperate times call for desperate measures, so asked Ambius to install a Microfresh system.”
“Microfresh is committed to air treatment practices that improve indoor air quality by adding pleasant scents or removing problem odors with a process which has no negative impact on occupant health. We recommended the installation of the Microfresh system, using a lemongrass basil scent, in the building’s HVAC/duct work system,” said Amy Barnett, Sales & Design Consultant for Ambius.
“The Microfresh system is behind-the-scenes and not in the residents line of vision.” “Until recently, there have only been products that mask odors by covering them up with heavy scenting. Microfresh doesn’t just mask odors…it neutralizes them by combining the very latest odor remediation technology with a newly-patented diffusion system.”
“Malodor is a major part of indoor air quality problems in commercial buildings,” adds Al Martin. “Elimination of indoor malodor is a specialty and a role for which Microfresh’s technology is uniquely well-suited and our odor remediation solution is becoming a standard in the commercial real estate sector.”
The Ambius Microfresh approach to odor remediation involves identification of the malodor, formulation of the neutralizer; delivery of the neutralizers into the space to be treated and concentration control of the neutralizer in the air. This "less is more" strategy is maintained by knowing the odor, using a targeted neutralizer, conducting a careful aero-engineering analysis of the space and utilizing a computer-controlled appliance that converts the air treatment agent into the nano-droplets without the use of harmful volatile organic compounds (VOCs).
With Microfresh, it is no longer necessary to saturate a space with heavy concentrations of scent and environmentally unfriendly VOC’s in order to create a pleasing scent ambience and deal with problem odors. The nano-droplet generation technology in the Microfresh service represents a genuine technology breakthrough. In air treatment applications, these droplets serve as highly efficient transport vehicles for pure fragrances, odor neutralizers and other air treatment agents to blend with the ambient air in interior spaces.
“I was afraid the lemongrass basil scent coming from the Microfresh system would just cover the smell up and I would get complaints of perfumed skunk,” recalls Redmond. “But to my surprise, the within 30 minutes the building started to smell better. In about four hours, the complete office building started to smell significantly better. In just five days, the Microfresh system had completely removed the odor.”
“The use of the Ambius Microfresh system at our property helped us solve a difficult problem quickly and painlessly, and we received immediate favorable feedback from our building tenants,” said Redmond. “While most properties managers won’t have to face skunk infiltration in their buildings, I would not hesitate to recommend Microfresh to fellow property managers to ameliorate any malingering odor issues a commercial building may have.”