The last year has introduced a lot of new challenges and changes to the way we traditionally get work done. At the same time, these new hurdles have also inspired and elevated new solutions and methods, demonstrating once again that we are more resilient than we even thought.

One solution that has caught our attention in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic is the use of ultraviolet (UV) lighting as a way to disinfect and clean our workspaces and air. But what do we know about this disinfection method? What do we need to know before we utilize it?

This article will explore the ins and outs of UV light disinfection and help you weigh the pros and cons of these disinfection methods.

What is UV light disinfection?

Although the term “UV light” may inspire mental images of tanning salons and sunscreen commercials, there is more to UV light disinfection than you think.

The invisible lights that more and more facility managers are utilizing to protect buildings are technically called ultraviolet-c light (UVC), or short-wavelength ultraviolet light. Especially when it comes to neutralizing viruses like COVID-19, they are powerful tools in the fight to keep workplaces and teams safe. 

By some estimates, it takes just seconds for UVC light to destroy COVID-19’s DNA and render it impotent. When viewed alongside its other benefits, it is no wonder that so many hospitals, malls, assisted living facilities, office buildings and restaurants are running to embrace what has quickly become an expanding marketplace of UV light disinfection solutions. 

Depending on the need and scale, organizations can choose from upper air devices, in-duct air flow systems and mobile device cleaning solutions that come in a much smaller footprint. 

What are the advantages of UVC light disinfection?

When implemented properly, UVC light disinfection can eliminate up to 99.9 percent of bacteria, fungi and viruses on surfaces. On top of this high rate of effectiveness, the technology works very fast, further driving the rapid growth of its use in commercial, medical and residential properties.

Unlike other liquid disinfection methods, UVC light disinfection does not leave behind any residue or smell that could bother tenants, and it removes the risk of having to clean up messy chemicals and cleansing agents. The technology also doesn’t disrupt the air flow or alter the air pressure, which could be noticed by tenants.  

These attributes make this no-contact sanitation method more environmentally friendly, and they also mean it can also be more cost effective over time compared to the use of one-time cleaning supplies that need to be constantly replenished.

What are the drawbacks of UVC light disinfection?   

Although the science is still evolving, we already know that there are some drawbacks to consider before using UVC light disinfection. However, with proper planning, these potential cons to UVC light disinfection can be drastically mitigated.

First, prolonged exposure to UVC light—whether from improper use, untrained operators or faulty installation—can damage skin and eyes. This could contribute to the hesitation that some potential users could have in using UVC light as a disinfection method. Therefore, make sure expert installation, maintenance and training are part of your implementation plan to reduce the risk and maximize effectiveness. 

Second, UVC light disinfection requires the light rays to have direct “line of sight” with the viruses and bacteria in order to neutralize them. Combined with the potential difficulty in adjusting and implementing larger UVC light solutions once installed, leveraging the technology can cause new challenges that an experienced facilitates services provider can handle for you.

Finally, not all existing HVAC systems are able to immediately accommodate UVC light disinfection technology, which may add to the overall implementation time and cost. Combined with the overall cost of the lighting systems themselves, this could put the cost of this option out of reach for some. For example, some systems require separate and different electrical voltage levels, separate mounting systems or space for strong magnets, and access to the HVAC system’s duct and cabinets. 

Fortunately, Able Services’ engineering team can help you navigate the latest UVC disinfection tools to find the right solution for your organization's unique requirements. 

Bring it all together

It is important to take the time to research for yourself the pros and cons of new technology and solutions, especially when it comes to the health and safety of your tenants and employees. When implemented properly, UVC light disinfection can be a powerful option for some facilities to fight against COVID-19 and continue our march back to normalcy. 

In other words, it has never been more important to have a partner like Able Services in your corner to help your business find and evaluate cutting-edge technology. Combined with our decades of expertise, we can deploy the full range of facilities services and find the right solutions for your needs. 

To learn more about UVC light disinfection and other innovations in facilities management, reach out to the team at Able Services.

2021 Trends Infographic