A New Disinfection Tool for Facilities Managers

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, facilities managers have been innovating and implementing strategies that will reduce the transmission of the virus inside their buildings. We have become familiar with face masks, social distancing measures, one-way systems and everything in between. These measures can be somewhat effective, but rely on public cooperation and enforcement from the government. Now that restrictions have eased and public attitudes have changed, facilities managers can no longer rely on these tools to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

 

Balancing Safety and Costs

 

The challenge faced by facilities managers across the UK is making occupied environments as safe as possible whilst keeping energy costs to a minimum. Preventing the spread of COVID-19 and other viruses requires a solution that can remove these pathogens from shared spaces without a significant increase in cost.

 

The most important factor in the control of airborne threats is clean air. The CDC (Centers for Disease Control) states that providing clean, sanitised air in enclosed, occupied environments is the most effective way to control infectious diseases. As we know, COVID-19 is passed between from person to person through exhaled breath. Social distancing, face coverings, physical barriers and one-way systems help to limit transmission, but do not remove harmful pathogens from the air. Droplets released by infected individuals continue to circulate in the air and settle on surfaces, contaminating them with viruses and bacteria. So how do we go about killing these airborne and surface pathogens before they can infect others?

 

Using UV Light to Kill Microorganisms

 

Germicidal UVC and upper room UVC have been used for decades in medical and military settings to eliminate pathogens from indoor spaces. These methods are extremely effective at killing microorganisms, but they are limited to use within unoccupied spaces only. This is because of the health risks associated with human exposure to UVC light at a 254nm wavelength.

Far-UVC, on the other hand, can be used to disinfect occupied spaces due to its shorter wavelength. Operating at 222nm, Far-UVC destroys pathogens in the air and on surfaces without harming human skin or eyes. This means that it can be used throughout facilities to reduce transmission of colds, flu and COVID-19 without causing harm.

This technology is being used more and more in environments all over the world including schools, care homes, offices, food preparation areas, dental practices and hospitality venues.

 

HVAC Systems

 

Increasing air flow via Heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems is a great way of minimising the spread of viruses. Before the pandemic, a typical building would have 0-3 air changes per hour. The CDC recommends a minimum of 6 air changes per hour to ensure that enough clean air is circulating to prevent the spread of disease. HVAC use already accounts for a large proportion of energy use within facilities but increasing the air changes per hour to meet new recommended levels has led to a significant increase in costs. Keeping people protected in shared, indoor spaces whilst maintaining costs has been incredibly difficult for facilities managers across the globe.

 

Incorporating Far-UVC into your HVAC system means that you can distribute clean, sanitised air around your building without the significant increase in cost. A recent study revealed that Far-UVC lights provide an equivalent of up to 184 air changes per hour, demonstrating their potential to remove pathogens on a large scale within shared indoor spaces. Once installed, they require no maintenance and continue to disinfect the air supply around the clock. Equipping facilities managers with this technology can help us to combat the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and better prepare ourselves for future outbreaks of disease.

 

Learn more about Far-UVC here.

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