UV Light isn't a new technology, but it is experiancing tremendous growth as the costs to implement UV disinfection systems is rapidly decreasing and more industry and acedemic organizations are promoting the benefits of UV lights in commercial buildings like Hospitals, Labroatories, Schools, and Commercial Office Buildings. Here are the top 5 reasons so many places are installing UV (and more specifically UVC) light systems:
1) The Technology is Accepted To Work UV light was first discovered to have germicidal (sterilization) properties in the late 1800's and was used commercially first in water treatment in the ealry 1900s. By the 1920's when Tuberculosis and the Measles were an epidemic Upper Air UV-C light fixtures were installed and were a major component in stemming the outbreak. With that much history there have been many peer reviewed studies done that the technology itself is accepted as an effective way to sterilize, disinfect, and decontaminate air and surfaces from any pathogen. No virus, bacteria, or fungus is immune to UV light, in particularly the C band of UV.
2) Increased Media Coverage It was not long ago where UVC specialists like us had to explain what it was and how it worked, but now news outlets, tv stations, and trade publications are telling the world about UV light sterilization and disinfection for us. Now the hard part is sifting through the "good" devices and applications and the "bad" applications where the technology is being mis-used or is just not a good fit.
3) Energy Management Professionals See The Savings Again, this relates to just how long UVC lights have been used, we have now surpassed 20 years since the first installation for HVAC Coil Irradiation. In warm climates paybacks just from an energy savings can be as little as three months, and in colder northern cliamtes the payback can still be under a year. Additional benefits for HVAC UVGI/Coil Irraditaion is that mainteneance teams no longer have to use chemicals or other cleaners or spend time cleaning the coils anymore which frees them to do other things. This labor and cleaning supplies savings in addition to lower up-front costs help create such short payback times that make even the most hard-nosed dollars and cents administrators blush.
4) Lower Costs 20 years ago there were just a couple companies that made UVGI systems for air sterilization and coil irradiation and they charged dearly for their product. Now as there are more systems available economies of scale have begun to impact the business and fixtures that once cost $3,000 are now less than $1,000 and Coil Irraditaion systems that cost $15,000 are under $5,000. These cost reductions plus more awareness of how effective the technology is has meant more installations, more installations means more raw materials are being made, and that lowers costs. Even as recently a decade ago if one of the big light manufacturers made UVC lights at full capacity for just one day they would have created a 5-year worldwide supply - so the indutry relied on smaller manufacturers. Now GE and Phillips dominate the lamp market and hold a 90%+ market share (and honestly if you aren't using one of their lamps you're paying more for no benefit)
5) Higher Awareness of Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) The Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990 that included stricter indoor air monitoring and regulations has lead to more and more focus on what is in the air and what building owners are doing to make the indoor environment safer to live and work in. Also, in 2012 the CDC did a study that showed that 98% of bacterial infections are airborne which caused several studies to be done on the decades old Upper Air UV systems - which were validated to remove over 98% of influenza virus. With regulators and building occupants demanding a safe environment to work and live in the low cost of installing these systems now make it an easy decision to have a high-impact on improving indoor air quality. These also have the benefit of being highly visible which also creates peace of mind for building occupants that their health is being cared for.
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