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October 17, 1997     Cape Gazette
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CAPE GAZETTE, Friday, October !7 - October 23, 1997 51 BUSINESS & REAL ESTATE Technological breakthrough provides healthier environment Resort's Custom Mechanical offering old technology with a new application By Kerry Kester Indoor pollution is a common cause for a variety of illnesses. New state-of-the-art technology allows people to install a device in duct systems that effectively de- stroys molds, fungi and other or- ganisms that when airborne can cause sicknesses or aggravate oth- er chronic health conditions. Through using an ultra-violet light system known as "UVC Quartz Sterilant," organisms are killed in their breeding grounds, and indoor air quality dramatical- ly improves. "It's an old technology with a new application," said Glenn Roberts, of Custom Mechanical, Inc., a local company that special- izes in heating, air conditioning and plumbing services. Also known as Ultra Sterile, the product essentially sterilizes in- door air conditioning coils. "Ultra violet is a wave length. The wave length goes into the DNA of the cell and creates peptides," said Roberts. "The peptides keep the cells from reproducing. If they can't reproduce, they die. That's why they call it UV sterilization - because you're making the cell sterile." According to Roberts, the World Health Association esti- mates that 60 percent of indoor air pollution problems are caused by molds. Those molds most often grow in air-conditioning or heating duct systems, said Roberts. "And the older the home, the more and the worse it usually is." Conditions on the air-condition- er coils and in the duct systems provide an environment that is conducive for prolific cell repro- duction. As molds, fungi, dust mites and their feces, and other organisms reproduce, they enter the air through the air-conditioning or heating ducts. Viruses and bacte- ria may then be carried on dust particles that flow through the ducts. The airborne contaminants ex- acerbate upper respiratory ail- ments or conditions,.those with asthma may suffer attacks, aller- gies are often activated, and ill- nesses such as the flu, chicken pox, Legionnaire's disease and others are spread. In addition to killing those or- ganisms and germs, the ultra vio- let kills odors caused by the conta- minants. Although odors such as tobacco smoke are not eliminated with the air sterilization system, the unit is particularly useful for environments where smoke is common. Tobacco smoke increases the number of particles that go through the filtration system. "Those particles are very adhe- sive," said Roberts, "so organisms easily can attach to them." "It changes the air," said Roberts. The system does not work independently of air filters; it works with them. "You still need filters to catch the dust," said Roberts, "but instead of the filter trapping live cells, it traps dead cells." Sicknesses abated Roberts said Ultra Sterile was introduced in California approxi- mately 14 months ago and has on- ly recently made its way to the East Coast. Success stories abound, he said. Most noteworthy was how Ultra Sterile saved a sick school build- ing in California. For three or four years, the school battled with students and staff members suffer- Continued on page 58 Kerry Kester photo Glenn Roberts, of Custom Mechanical, Inc., demonstrates Ultra Sterile's UV Quartz Sterilant, an ultra-violet mecha- nism that kills indoor air pollutants. The light kills microor- ganisms that breed on the coils behind air-conditioners and Solne likely diseases caused by indoor biological contaminates { 1, Eye and upper respiratory irritants !. Dust mites, dander, fungi and molds, insect excretions, 2o Pneumonia 3 Asthma 4 Allergic alveolitis (lower lung inflammation) 5 Humidifier fever (flu-like illness) 6 Histophasmoisis (flu-like symptoms) 7 Allergic broncho-pulmonary aspergillus (complicated asthma) 8. Dermatitis, eczema, rash 9 Mycotoxicosis (inflammation of the heart caused by toxic reaction to molds) viruses and feathers 2* Viruses and bacteria 3- Fungi, dander, dust mites, insect excretions and feathers 4 Bacteria, fungi and molds, feathers and insect excretions 5- Fungi, molds and bacteria 6. Fungus in soil mixed with bird droppings 7 Fungi, aspergillus fumigatus common in soil 8. Dust mites, dander, feathers and insect excretions 9 Caused by specific molds Diversification can be a lifesaver Edward Noble was one of those people who understood that vari- ety is the spice of life. In 1913, he approached Clarence Crane, the inventor of the peppermint Life Saver, with the idea of producing the candy in a variety of flavors. Crane didn't want any part of this plan, so he sold Noble all rights to the candy for $2,900. Today, Life Savers is a billion- dollar business, and the reason Noble - and not Crane - became its owner was because he knew the value of diversification. He didn't base his success on the sales of just one flavor of candy. He knew that by offering a variety of fla- vors, he could appeal to more peo- ple. At the same time, he protect- ed his business should any one flavor fall from grace with the public. Like Edward Noble, smart in- vestors understand the value of variety. They know that variety is the foundation of a good invest- ment plan. Whether you call it di- versification, asset allocation, or simply "not putting all your eggs in one basket," the benefits of spreading your dollars among a variety of'investments cannot be overstated. FINANCIAL FOCUS Anthony Egeln One of the main benefits of choosing a variety of investments is that you have some protection should one of those investments experience a downturn. No single investment performs well under all conditions. In fact, different types of investments sometimes go in opposite directions. For ex- ample, when the stock market de- clines, bonds generally perform well and vice-versa. Owning both types of investments will benefit you in nearly any economic envi- ronment. Diversification also protects against loss of purchasing power. Having all your money in fixed- income investments, such as bonds and CDs, will not allow you to keep up with inflation. Why is this important? Consider for a mo- ment what has happened to the price of bread over the past 40 years. In 1956, one dollar would buy six loaves of bread. In 1966, a dollar would buy three loaves of bread and in 1996, a dollar would only by a single loaf. So, although you usually want to know exactly how much a fixed-income investment will re- turn at maturity, what you don't know is how much purchasing power that money will retain. Placing a portion of your assets in growth investments, however, has historically allowed you to out- pace inflation. Another benefit of diversifica- tion is that it offers the potential for better returns. Consider the ex- ample of two individuals, each with $10,000 to invest. Investor A uses the entire amount to purchase U.S. government bonds paying sex, en percent. Twenty-five years later, his investment is worth more than $54,000. Investor B, however, decides to spread his nest egg among five different types of investment. The first three turn out to be good choices. He places $2,000 in an international growth fund that av- erages a 15 percent annual return, $2,000 in a growth-and-income fund that averages 10 percent an- nually, and $2,000 in a tax-free municipal bond paying five per- cent. His other two investments are not as successful. One breaks even, and the other is completely lost. How badly do these two in- vestments hurt his return? At the end of 25 years, Investor B has more than $96,000, roughly 44 percent more than Investor A. This example illustrates the im- portance of diversifying by type of investment. Investor B's port- folio included a growth invest- ment, a growth-and-income in- vestment and a fixed-income in- vestment. It's also important to choose a variety of investments within each category. For example, with growth and growth-and-income investhaents, such as stocks and stock mutual funds, many investors concentrate too much of their money in com- panies that are familiar, such as consumer foods and utilities. Oth- ers lean too heavily on what's hot, like technology stocks. Stocks and stock mutual funds should repre- sent a variety of companies and industries. Diversifying this way will protect you from negative events in any one company or in- dustry. You can also diversify the fixed-income portion of your port- folio. These investments should include bonds with short-, inter- mediate- and long-term maturi- ties. This practice, called ladder- ing maturities, protects you against interest-rate fluctuations. When interest rates fall, you have money invested at higher rates. When the interest rates rise, you have money available to invest at those higher rates. The specific mix of investments that's right for you depends on your need for safety and return. Ask a professional to review your investments to make sure they're adequately diversified. The few minutes you spend evaluating your portfolio can be a priceless investment. As Edward Noble dis- covered, diversification can be a life saver. Anthony Egeln is an investment representative in the Lewes office of the financial services firm, Ed- ward Jones.