Living in a Germ State
Germ theory isn’t a new idea: it’s been over 150 years since Louis Pasteur discovered and began to develop it. But society’s current hyper-focus on cleanliness and disinfection is somewhat of a contemporary phenomenon. Who knew that hand-washing, Lysol wipes, toilet paper, masks, and more would become such a large part of the public discourse in 2021?
Disinfection practices have been essential for organizations for many years, but they can make or break them today. It’s not just about keeping things clean anymore—it’s about meeting high standards to protect people and remain in operation. Meticulous maintenance of clean and healthy indoor environments is more critical than ever. In the wake of the coronavirus, facility leaders and administrators of shared spaces like offices, restaurants, schools, hospitals, senior care facilities, and even entertainment venues need sustainable ways to keep people safe. It can be challenging to build an arsenal of cleaning methods. But there are highly effective and autonomous ways to keep inhabitants of indoor spaces safe from pathogens.
We take extraordinary measures to ensure that some of our everyday resources are clean and sanitary. In 2017, U.S. water supply spending and wastewater treatment totaled $113 billion. In 2020, the disinfectant market in the U.S. was a staggering $1.1 billion, and studies show that the use of chemicals for disinfection is 50% effective at best.
In contrast, society has hardly paid attention to ambient / indoor air quality. Just $50 million has been invested recently into ambient air quality by the government through the EPA and the ARP. Though it has been historically overlooked, indoor air quality (IAQ) is a crucial element in maintaining public health and a more effective disinfection method for indoor spaces than cleaning with chemicals.
IAQ affects occupant health, comfort, and productivity, and even building usability, all of which have an economic impact on building owners and occupants. Active air disinfection and effective ventilation can enhance IAQ, but many existing facility infrastructures aren’t designed to handle full HVAC overhauls. Adding new filters to old devices is likely to catch pathogens but not kill them. Upgraded filtration systems are effective but generate hazardous waste and need filters replaced regularly.
Facilities need a way to disinfect air while working with existing systems effectively.
Safe and Sustainable Air Disinfection with Upper Room UVGI
UV-C light, as outlined in a previous R-Zero blog post, is a form of electromagnetic radiation whose germ-killing properties have been known since the early twentieth century. The CDC and the FDA have both acknowledged UV-C as an effective method of destroying live pathogens. When manual cleaning was supplemented by UV light disinfection treatment in a hospital setting, the bacterial counts were 93% lower than manual cleaning alone. And in August 2021, it was shown that UV light quickly inactivates SARS-CoV-2 and coronaviruses.
UVGI, a form of UV-C, is the use of UV light with sufficiently short wavelengths to disinfect the air. It has been shown to destroy and inactivate bacteria and viruses, including measles, tuberculosis, SARS-CoV-2, E. coli, and influenza. It’s a powerful tool for the future of clean spaces, destroying 99.9% of pathogens by creating dimers on the genetic material and stopping replication. One highly effective and efficient form of UVGI is upper room UVGI (UR UVGI), which irradiates the air in the upper-room portion of occupied spaces, killing pathogens and preventing them from causing illness. Both ASHRAE and the CDC recommend upper room UVGI.
UR UVGI has been used for decades to stop the spread of pathogenic organisms in hospitals and labs. A 2002 study found that adequately installed UR UVGI reduced surrogate tuberculosis concentrations by 90%. Many unique applications exist for UR UVGI, especially in high-occupancy indoor settings. It’s equally suitable for various industries and facility types, including schools, office spaces, athletic facilities, event venues, senior care, hospitality environments, municipalities, manufacturing environments, and healthcare. UR UVGI light integration notably requires no additional staff, supplies, or additional PPE.
Meet Beam: R-Zero’s Autonomous Upper Room UVGI Solution
On November 9th, R-Zero announced the launch of Beam, the world’s first LED-based upper room UVGI device. Beam shines UVGI across the top of an occupied room, disinfecting air every five minutes with 99.9% efficacy.
Beam quickly and thoroughly disinfects air as it naturally rises and crosses the UV irradiation’s path. It creates a disinfection zone with 265nm UV light that is 20-30% more effective than the wavelength most often used with UV-C. Beam continuously and autonomously reduces the airborne microbial risk in occupied rooms.
Deadly for Pathogens, Friendly for the Planet
R-Zero’s upper room UVGI device, Beam, augments central HVAC air disinfection systems where ventilation is inadequate, too expensive, or not feasible to modify, making every room pathogen-free. Beam installation helps reduce the stress and cost of improving existing systems with higher airflow or higher filtration. Beam virtually eliminates high-risk aerosol transmission of pathogens in enclosed rooms with many occupants, and its greenhouse gas footprint (GHG) is 44% lower than competitors. Compared to other air disinfection methods, Beam has the lowest waste footprint, producing only 1 kilogram of waste per year during its life.
Beam devices are installed at a minimum height of seven feet above the ground. The units also include a safety baffle and PIR safety sensors that will terminate the UV light if a person is close to crossing into the UV light’s path. Custom installation and safety verification ensure optimal performance and safe operation.
Beam delivers more than 2:1 ROI as part of the holistic R-Zero disinfection ecosystem by reducing sick days while also minimizing waste, chemical use, and labor. R-Zero’s solutions provide visibility into a traditionally invisible disinfection process through the R-Zero Connect dashboard. When implementing Beam and other R-Zero disinfection solutions, R-Zero proudly partners with customers to credibly communicate the extra care they’re taking to make spaces clinically clean.
Check out our dedicated Beam web page to learn more about rendering your shared spaces clinically clean through the power of Beam, R-Zero’s upper room UVGI solution.
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