What is germicidal UV-C light, and how does it work?
We must first define ultraviolet, or UV, light before describing germicidal UV-C light. We also have an entire blog post dedicated to the fundamentals of UV here.
Ultraviolet light is a form of naturally occurring electromagnetic radiation found in sunshine, accounting for around 10% of the total light produced by the sun. UV light has shorter wavelengths than visible light but longer wavelengths than x-rays. This radiation has a wavelength of 10nm to 400nm and is divided into three sub-bands: UV-A, UV-B, and UV-C.
UV radiation with wavelengths less than 290nm is thought to have antibacterial characteristics. Germicidal refers to the ability of light to kill (inactivate) diseases. The Earth’s atmosphere absorbs ultramagnetic radiation with wavelengths shorter than 290nm, which means that our planet’s ozone blocks the majority of the sun’s UV-C and UV-B rays. Microbes on surfaces, air, and water are often inactivated or killed by germicidal UV-C radiation. UV-C illumination, when used correctly, can kill 99.9% of microorganisms.
Pathogen cells are killed by germicidal UV light by destroying their DNA. Microorganisms’ genetic material is altered. Their reproduction capacity is destroyed when they are exposed to electromagnetic radiation (light) at particular UV wavelengths. UV light causes the creation of certain thymine or cytosine dimers in DNA and uracil dimers in RNA, causing bacteria to become inactive by generating mutations, cell death, and failure to reproduce.
UV Light Disinfection: A Brief History
Since Downes and Blunt identified the antibacterial effects of shorter wavelengths of sunlight over 140 years ago, ultraviolet illumination has been known for its disinfectant characteristics. Shortly later, it was discovered that UV sections of the light spectrum might kill germs.
Following confirmation of UV lighting’s potential to destroy microorganisms, the next step was to reproduce the UV wavelengths to disinfect surfaces, air, and water. The germicidal lamp was created from the first UV quartz lamp invented in 1904.
Germicidal lamps, such as those used in this work to reuse N95 masks during the coronavirus pandemic, produce wavelengths of ultraviolet light (UV-C; 200nm to 280nm) that have disinfection capabilities.
What are the best places to employ germicidal UV-C light systems?
UV germicidal irradiation can be beneficial to various facility types (UVGI). UVGI is a disinfection procedure that uses ultraviolet light with a short wavelength (UV-C) to inactivate or kill bacteria and diseases. The US Army, the CDC, and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) have all suggested or employed UVGI for disease isolation and bio-defense systems for buildings, as well as as a disinfection method for personal protective equipment (PPE).
Here’s a rundown of some of the sectors that make use of the technology: Medical Centers & Hospitals
The most obvious application for UV-C light disinfection is in healthcare institutions, where illness and viruses are every day and travel from patient to patient and room to room. Even using chemical cleaners, manual cleaning is insufficient. Furthermore, combining physical cleaning efforts with two minutes of UV-C “washing” has been shown to reduce bacterial burden by 70%.
Because viruses and bacteria cannot develop resistance to light-based disinfection procedures like they do to drugs and even chemical cleansers, UV-C lighting can even destroy “superbugs” (read more here). You must plan ahead and use our latest technology, such as UVGI products and systems, in today’s pandemic-stricken world (learn more about how UV-C illumination is helping with the novel coronavirus).
Some of the sorts of healthcare facilities that can benefit from germicidal UV-C light disinfection include the following:
- Surgical facilities
- Centers for urgent care
- Nursing homes and other facilities for the elderly
- Dental offices Laboratories
- Storage facilities for medical equipment
- Facilities for pharmaceutical production
Universities and schools
Viruses and illnesses thrive in schools. Consider the millions of days missed at school due to illness. School absences have negative consequences for both kids and school districts. Colleges and other higher education institutions are similarly vulnerable because students frequently live in close quarters, spreading disease quickly. Because most sports entail skin-to-skin contact, student-athletes of all levels are especially vulnerable to various health conditions ranging from athlete’s foot to staph infections.
Using germicidal UV-C light in educational facilities would not only keep students, professors, and staff healthier, but it will also reduce the usage of dangerous chemical cleansers, which can cause respiratory disorders such as asthma, particularly in youngsters, as well as allergic reactions.
The following are some examples of educational facilities that could benefit from germicidal UV-C light disinfection:
- Elementary, middle, and high schools are all available.
- Universities and colleges
- Schools for trades
- Daycare centers and other early childhood education facilities
- Recreational facilities and gyms in schools
- Buses for students
Hospitality & Retail
Customers’ suggestions and evaluations are crucial to the survival of both retail and hospitality enterprises, and cleanliness is an essential aspect of consumer happiness. In fact, when it
comes to deciding where to stay, 78 percent of hotel customers feel that cleanliness is the most crucial factor. That is only one example. We’ll look at some regions of the retail and hotel industries and explain why they need UV-C light disinfection.
Food and Beverage Processing and Service
Each year, there are an estimated 48 million cases of foodborne illness! Foodborne infections can quickly tarnish a restaurant’s or food processing plant’s reputation and reduce the consumer base. Also, due to the intimate contact required in the profession, sicknesses can readily pass from one employee to the next, potentially leaving you understaffed. This isn’t even including FDA food recalls due to viral or bacterial outbreaks (remember when we couldn’t eat romaine lettuce?).
Germicidal UV-C light has been shown to destroy pathogens such as E. coli and salmonella, prevalent foodborne bacteria that cause sickness. Disinfect your surfaces to keep your customers and employees happy and safe.
The following are just a few examples of food and beverage establishments that could benefit from UV-C disinfection light systems:
- Food trucks are available.
- Catering companies
- Halls for banquets
- Processing and packing facilities for food
- Supermarkets and grocery stores
- Convenience stores (convenience stores)
- Storage facilities for food
Hotels & Motels
When deciding where to stay, 78 percent of hotel customers agree that cleanliness is the most crucial issue. The reputation and bottom line of a hotel are directly affected by cleanliness and safety.
As previously stated, manual cleaning is insufficient on its own. Cleaning this technique might sometimes cause more harm than good by spreading germs from one surface to the next. Add UV-C disinfection techniques to your hotel’s “cleaning” and promote it to your guests—it’ll be sure to make an impression and persuade them to return or stay at other locations.
In this industry, guest rooms are an excellent location for UV disinfection. Still, conference rooms, restrooms, gyms, pools, banquet halls—any facility within your hotel or motel can benefit from UVGI (ultraviolet germicidal irradiation), justifying your investment in UV-C equipment.
Industry of Fitness
Because of the close contact and sharing of equipment, exercise and sporting facilities are more susceptible to some illnesses, such as athlete’s foot and staph. Gyms, fitness clubs, recreation facilities, and pools are frequented by many people every day, and germs flourish in wet (read: sweaty) environments. Differentiate your gym or athletic club from the competition by assuring your members that their equipment, locker room, and other areas are actually clean by using UV-C disinfection light.
In the fitness business, there are a variety of places that can benefit from UV disinfection lighting:
- Specialty gyms and fitness centers
- Recreational facilities, especially youth recreation centers
- Public swimming pools
- Basketball courts, tennis courts, and ice rinks are all examples of well-organized sporting venues.
The new coronavirus, which spread fast aboard many cruise ships, prompting them to dock and isolate all over the world, has recently drawn a lot of attention to cruise ships.
Interior of a Subway When a Coronavirus Pandemic Occurs Additional areas where close, sustained contact and artificial air and uneven manual cleaning can lead to rapid disease spread include airplanes, airports, trains, and train stations. Customers’ safety and satisfaction determine whether cruise lines and airlines succeed or fail.
Families from all over the world flock to theme parks like Disney World and Six Flags for vacations. Massive crowds standing in line for hours and then crammed into small areas on rides, restrooms, and eateries means germs spread quickly. Bacterial illnesses are very contagious in water parks.
National accounts are similar to retail and hospitality. Restaurant chains and significant businesses, such as apparel stores and grocery store chains, require disinfection because they are heavily visited and packed, and success depends on a good reputation. For example, scalability and countrywide implementation are two critical differences between a chain restaurant and a mom-and-pop restaurant. Stouch Lighting has worked on cross-country lighting projects before. We recognize the value of a consistent look and feel for brand recognition, as well as the need for seamless deployment across hundreds of different locations.
Government & Municipal
UVGI is commonly used for wastewater disinfection in many towns, cities, and other locations. Using a UVGI system for wastewater disinfection instead of traditional chlorine and other chemical treatments is safer, more environmentally friendly, and equivalent, if not more inexpensive.
In terms of price, Most importantly, UV lighting effectively destroys bacteria that chlorine treatment missed, such as Cryptosporidium, a human gastrointestinal ailment.
As one of our FAQs explains, UV-C light can be used to disinfect surfaces, materials, and air.
There are a slew of additional municipal and government uses for UV-C light disinfection, and we’ll go over a few of them below, but first, let’s talk about one of the most important: correctional facilities. Because of the intimate living quarters, it’s become evident that prisons and jails are breeding grounds for viruses and diseases in the aftermath of the coronavirus pandemic. UV disinfection technology could make it easier to protect this group.
The following types of municipal and government facilities can benefit from germicidal UV-C light disinfection:
- Plants that cleanse wastewater
- Recreational parks and amenities
- Prisons and detention centers
- Veteran’s issues
- Facilities for judicial courts
- Stations of fire and police
- Works for the public good
Offices and Commercial Real Estate
Employees who work in a clean atmosphere are healthier, which means fewer absences and increased productivity for your organization.
Apart from that, cleanliness and health are popular; you might even be eligible for the WELL accreditation, which is given to buildings created with health in mind. In addition to the apparent benefit of a healthier environment, these types of certifications are a fantastic PR opportunity. Consider using germicidal UV-C light systems as a marketing technique for potential renters if you want to lease your space.
Manufacturing, distribution, and warehousing are all terms used to describe industries.
To keep production going, industrial facilities frequently involve the processing of material from many geographical zones and close staff contact.
Many nonprofits serve as gathering sites for community members because diseases spread wherever people congregate. The extra level of protection UV-C disinfection light systems give can assist churches, community centers, nonprofit organizations with community-focused services, and so on. Unfortunately, outbreaks of infections, such as coronavirus, are common in nonprofits such as homeless shelters due to intimate living quarters.
Some nonprofits that could benefit from germicidal UV-C light disinfection include:
- Churches, synagogues, and other religious buildings
- Centers for the community
- Shelters for the homeless
- Food banks are places where people can go to get food
- Blood banks and clinics are examples of medical-related nonprofits.
- Organizations having major conferences and gatherings, notably membership organizations
- Other charitable groups
What type of germicidal UV-C light system do I need in my facility?
Germicidal UV-C lighting is adaptable and comes in various shapes and sizes to suit a variety of applications.
Mobile UV-C Disinfection Units
Germicidal UV-C light systems, as well as mobile UV-C disinfection devices, are available. These disinfection devices or carts can easily be transported from room to room to disinfect numerous areas. After a patient room or operating room has been cleaned and is ready for the next patient, the mobile UV-C disinfection unit is placed in the room and triggered to disinfect surfaces and air in that space. These units are typically on wheels or tripods, and they are simple to use and carry.
Ceiling and wall fixtures with UV-C
When choosing the right UV-C fixture for your environment, you have a few alternatives. Here are a few examples:
Ceiling mounted– These UV-C disinfection fixtures are hung from your facility’s ceiling, either recessed within the ceiling like a traditional troffer or suspended from the ceiling by chain or aircraft cable. UV-C light lights set on the ceiling are particularly effective since you can space them out to disinfect your individual space based on the size and level of disinfection necessary.
Wall-mounted fixtures can be spaced and installed for optimum disinfection levels dependent on the size and geometry of your building, just like ceiling-mounted fixtures.
With preset and adjustable cycles, any of these solutions can disinfect on demand. Continue reading to learn more about controls and UV-C disinfection lighting. The disinfection cycles can be conducted overnight or whenever the spaces are unoccupied. All fixtures feature automatic shutoff sensors in case somebody enters the space. At the same time, it is being disinfected (read more about safety and UV disinfection lighting here).
Additional Uses for Germicidal UV-C Light- HVAC
Apart from the numerous germicidal UV-C lighting uses listed above, the lighting can also be successfully used in HVAC and other air handling systems. This is true for practically all of the applications as mentioned above. UV disinfection systems are installed in new or existing duct systems to prevent the transmission of airborne contaminants by eliminating germs before they circulate. One of the major benefits is that you can simply install the disinfection system and forget about it, while still reaping the health benefits of germ-free air.
Additional Germicidal UV-C Lighting Benefits
Sensors, controls, and more
People are frequently concerned about UV lighting’s safety. Many questions about UV-C illumination and safety have been answered here. Because of the controls, sensors, switches, and other features available with the technology, germicidal UV-C lighting is extremely safe. The following (and this is not a complete list) are possible with this technology:
- The lights will be controlled from outside the area, so no one will need to be there while the UV disinfection occurs.
- Pre-programmed disinfection cycles in the lighting, so you may disinfect whenever it’s convenient, even at night or while you’re not there.
- Many gadgets, including smartphones and tablets, will control the lights.
- The lighting should have an auto-on/off option so that it will automatically turn off if someone enters the room by accident or turn on when the door is locked.
AS PREVIOUSLY MENTIONED, Germicidal UV-C lighting is available in both permanently installed and mobile systems. This level of adaptability is a significant plus. You can also quickly scale disinfection to meet your required size by increasing the number of illumination units in space.