The Nose That Knows

The Nose That Knows

How PureChoice evolved from a seller of air filters to selling air quality—digitally.

One of Bryan Reichel’s first clients as founder of PureChoice in 1994 was a fleet of Illinois riverboat casinos. PureChoice, which then primarily sold and maintained air filters, was handed the job of improving air quality on smoky, moored craft. Reichel soon learned that there was no way for managers of indoor spaces to monitor air quality electronically. That realization, Reichel says, put PureChoice on track to sell “air quality versus just selling filters.”

Indoor smoking in public places is mostly a thing of the past in this country, but Burnsville-based PureChoice is stronger than ever, thanks to its remote Web-based air-monitoring system. PureChoice’s PureTrac software drives the company’s “Nose” air-monitoring devices, which help business owners and building managers measure humidity, temperature, CO2, and ozone, as well as determine when air conditions are favorable for mold growth and bacteria. The idea: Better air quality means healthier and thus more productive employees.

“In the past, people would employ industrial hygienists to do an audit on their building,” Reichel says. “They’d do it once or twice a year, and then wait for the hygienist’s report and recommendations. With our technology, we’ve put that industrial hygienist in a box, charting and graphing our findings for the C-level user.”

PureChoice’s “box” is the Nose, a small Ethernet-enabled computer developed by PureChoice-contracted engineers and mounted on interior walls. Typically, one Nose is installed for every 2,500 to 4,000 square feet of floor space. As it sniffs out air quality and temperature stability, it can instantaneously report its findings via the PureTrac software.

“It’s a real-time solution, immediate feedback for maintaining ideal air quality and system performance,” PureChoice President Kevin Kuhne says. “We provide customers with the accountable intelligence required to run their facilities more efficiently.”

PureChoice’s client base has been in child care, hospitality, and retail. Company revenue was just $1 million in 2009; PureChoice expects 200 percent revenue growth this year. It’s touting its system as a green advantage, gaining attention from government agencies, a new market for the company. In Minnesota, PureChoice has monitors installed in Fort Snelling’s Whipple Federal Building. Later this year, the company will install its equipment in the Ford House Office Building in Washington, D.C.

“We are perfectly positioned to be part of this country’s energy-efficient future,” Reichel asserts.