Clean is the New Green

BY Brian Loftus
8/19/2020 - HVAC Market Intelligence

Key Takeaways:

  • Indoor Air Quality will be a growing market for HARDI members. There is a lot of opportunity here if taken advantage of proactively.
  • Researchers around the world have been investigating and confirming the effectiveness of Far UV-C on coronavirus while being safe for human exposure. 
  • The NEWS has provided a series of very informative articles that can be accessed by searching 'Ultraviolet (UV-C) HVAC Technology’.

Going “Green” is about saving Mother Earth. Going “Clean” means saving not just our mothers, but our fathers, grandparents, coworkers, and neighbors. The need to be Green persists, and so will Clean after COVID-19. The awareness of virus risks and the fear of infection will persist. We need to make the indoor spaces where people gather less hospitable for the transmission of disease. Satisfying this awareness by protecting customers, coworkers, and our family, will be a growing market for HARDI members when we make Climate Security part of Climate Control.

The transmission of information about this issue has a “fog of war” quality because we are still learning about the transmission of the disease. An important unit of measure on our learning curve is the caliber of these infectious missiles is a micron; 50 microns is a human hair. A 5-to-10 micron caliber infectious missile can float like the dust particles you see through a ray of sunlight. We need a Virus Strategic Defense Initiative or “VSDI” where we work, where our kids go to school, where we shop, at our favorite restaurant, and in our favorite room at home for reading the Data Driven Newsletter. This VSDI would scan the environment and shoot down any ballistic-droplet launched by that loud-talker in the group, or infectious sneeze by the asymptomatic person across the room. Columbia University radiation scientist David Brenner describes that breakthrough in this fascinating TED Ideas Worth Spreading interview, “Can Light Stop the Coronavirus” from July 2020.

Germicidal UV light has been used to disinfect hospital operating rooms and is now being deployed to disinfect public transportation at the end of a long day. These have limited application because the light is dangerous to humans. Dr. Brenner explains that Far UV-C light is different because it has a shorter wavelength but can still extinguish viruses and bacteria while being safe for human exposure. This wavelength is too small to penetrate our skin or eyes. His 2017 TED Talk “A New Weapon in the Fight Against Superbugs” describes how he began researching light to combat drug resistant bacteria and limit seasonal influenza. Since that talk, researchers around the world have been investigating and confirming the effectiveness of Far UV-C on coronavirus while being safe for human exposure. It is already being deployed.

Recently, the Wall Street Journal had an article describing a bakery that installed the Cleanse Portal by Healthe. It uses an array of Far UV-C lights to sanitize customers as they enter a room or building. It is easy to imagine this being used wherever a metal detector or similar entry screening is used. Heathe has a variety of products using this technology.

This item is meant to be another step in evaluating our ability to battle this disease and identify products and services that will need to be widely distributed to accomplish this objective. The NEWS has provided a series of very informative articles that can be accessed by searching 'Ultraviolet (UV-C) HVAC Technology’. DDN’s first step was “Sell The New Normal” in last month’s edition. It included a reference to Harvard professor Edward Nardell discussing the role of indoor climate control spreading infection. Dr. Nardell discusses the benefits of Far UV-C in a recent interview with the London School of Science and Technology: “Far UV-C which also disinfects air with less concern for lower room occupant exposure. Currently, 222 nm excimer lamps are in short supply and expensive, but that will change as they are widely used. Upper room (254 nm) or whole room (222 nm) UV air disinfection is the most effective and cost-effective way to compensate for the increased risk facilitated by AC indoors.”

Those who understand indoor air circulation metrics will appreciate some of the specifics from the Q&A with Dr. Nardell. It is rich with specifics on measurement and references to our industry. I also recommend the comment and resources sections at the end of the Brenner TEDs for additional perspectives on this topic.

You will still need to sanitize your locations even after Far UV-C lighting is available. Your HARDI team has partnered with an industry veteran and invested considerable time to prepare an exhaustive Facilities Sanitization guidance package for you. You must stay clean to be able to stay open and be appealing to your customers to make that green. You also need teammates to staff those locations.

Many resources recommend checking body temperature before allowing entry to protect the rest of the team. That is a logistical nightmare and only the first step of a process to protect the staff. Wouldn’t it make more sense for teammates to check temperatures before arriving at work? Kinsa for Business allows teammates to check their temperature from home and report via a smartphone app. This relieves the location logistical challenges, keeps leadership informed for more effective responses, and provides teammates with an extra layer of confidence that where they work is a clean and safe environment. Kinsa for Business has a two minute demo explaining the features that are destined to be the new normal for business. This is how employers and employees can work together to stop the spread of COVID-19 and feel safe returning to work.

Seven months after being identified, more than 160K of our friends and neighbors have died, and the lives of millions have been disrupted by the COVID-19 infection. The lives of everyone have been altered as we scramble to combat this pandemic that continues its relentless invasion and attack. The “new normal” will reorient our value scales and create new opportunities. Dr. Brenner and many others have been testing Far UV-C for years and believe it is a significant weapon for our battle against COVID-19 and other airborne infections. The effectiveness and potential is confirmed by commitments by leading lighting companies like Signify, formerly Phillips, and Acuity.

Anderson Cooper will be lonely if he visits Times Square on New Year’s Eve this year. There is still a 50/50 chance that we will have March Madness in 2021 if enough stadiums deploy Far UV-C lighting. That is just one of countless ways this can be deployed for indoor climate security. There is a lot of green to be made to keep it clean. We hope you can benefit from that opportunity. We will continue to explore this and other clean opportunities for you.


This article was featured in our monthly Data Driven Newsletter. If you would like to receive these monthly emails, click here to sign up.

If you have any questions, or would like to suggest a featured topic for next month's DDN, contact Brian Loftus at bloftus@hardinet.org.