Improving Your Workplace’s Air Quality with UV-C Emitters

Improving Your Workplace’s Air Quality with UV-C Emitters


UV-C installations in workplaces were happening long before COVID-19 presented itself to the world.

Since the first discovery of UVC Germicidal Irradiation in 1877 by Arthur Downes and Thomas Blunt, UVC has been used for disinfecting drinking water (1910), disinfecting air (1930) and now protecting office spaces from COVID-19.

The entire UV spectrum can kill or inactivate many microorganism species, preventing them from replicating, but UVC energy at 253.7 nanometres provides the most germicidal effect, known as Germicidal Irradiation or UVGI.

UVC exposure inactivates microbial organisms such as bacteria and viruses by altering the structure and the molecular bonds of their DNA. DNA is the “blueprint” these organisms use to develop, function, and reproduce. By destroying the organism’s ability to reproduce it becomes harmless as it’s not able to colonize. After UVC exposure, the organism dies off leaving no offspring, and the population of the microorganism diminishes rapidly.

So, what are the benefits of installing UV-C Emitters to Fan Coil Units?

Health and Wellbeing

Numerous studies have shown that good indoor air quality is directly correlated with the health and wellbeing of everyone working within an office space. By killing off bacteria and viruses as they enter the HVAC system, the likeliness of illness spreading within the area is significantly reduced, and thus reductions in staff absenteeism follow.

Just by having this technology in place can also have a knock-on effect on general staff productivity, especially amongst those who tend to be more anxious following the pandemic. It’s unlikely that everyone within a company is completely comfortable returning to the office after many months self-isolation – but having preventative measures in place can make the return a lot less daunting for people.

Environmental Impact

In June 2019 the UK government became the first major economy to pass a net zero emissions law. The target will require the UK to bring all greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050, compared with the previous target of at least 80% reduction from 1990 levels.

With HVAC systems contributing roughly 25% – 35% of the energy bill, improving the maintenance and efficiency of HVAC systems with UV-C emitters will help reduce the nation’s Carbon Footprint.

Although interest in Germicidal Irradiation has peaked once again with COVID-19, the original and main reason for the use of UV-C technology has been to provide savings on energy and maintenance costs.

Keeping the coils free from mould and biofilm not only greatly improves indoor air quality but also enables the HVAC system to run much more efficiently, significantly reducing the amount of energy consumed and also, reducing the likelihood of faults appearing and the need for repair and replacement.

Operation and Ease of Maintenance of UVC Equipment

Another great benefit to this technology is that there is no actual maintenance, nor operational, tasks that need to be performed on any equipment which has been installed for coil cleansing purposes. The only thing recommended is to replace the UVC emitters after 9,000 hours of use (approximately 12 months) to maintain optimum purification performance. Other than that, it’s simply advised that the UVC emitters are left running continuously to maintain a completely “biofilm free” cooling coil.

Cost Savings vs HEPA Filters

Following on from operation and maintenance, in most instances, installation of UV-C emitters will be more expensive up-front compared to the alternative, HEPA filters.

However, past the 2-year mark, HEPA filter costs will surpass those of UVC with a higher volume of associated operation and maintenance costs, energy costs and bio-hazard removal costs.

Conclusion

Installing UV-C emitters to existing fan coil units is not only a fantastic way to improve indoor air quality and the health and wellbeing of your workplace, but also provides additional environmental and cost saving benefits.

At Constructive Space, we’ve naturally seen a rise in the uptake of UV-C solutions, including in our recently completed fitout, Thinkbox.

Should you like to explore the costs of UV-C emitters in your office, or have any queries at all, please get in touch with us at info@constructivespace.com. Our specialists would be happy to advise and create a bespoke solution for you.