hospital lighting

UV-C Lighting: a marketing ploy or a glimmer of hope for Covid-19?

Lighting manufacturers are marketing UV-C lighting in both residential and commercial spaces – but do they actually work? In our latest webinar, How to Adjust Your Building Operations to Your New Normal, our in-house lighting expert, Guy Brunet, debunks the myths around UV lighting and explains how to make informed decisions about selecting the right product.

The first thing that Guy emphasizes is the lack of regulation. “It’s a relatively unregulated industry. Most people are surprised when we tell them that. There are a lot of false claims of functionality and these may actually do more harm than good depending on the type of space and what you’re trying to achieve.”

Because of the concerns around Coronavirus and the growing demand of UV lighting, the Illuminating Engineering Society and the International Ultraviolet Association released an announcement on June 22, 2020 that they are working together to develop the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) for the measurement and characterization of UV-C device performance.

“It’s important to be completely educated on UV-C lighting before jumping all in and making purchases for your facility.” says Guy. “And ultimately, it’s all about pairing proper design with the correct luminare.”

There is a lot of planning that goes into an Envari Energy Solutions design. The risk of installing UV lighting may outweigh the benefits if not properly implemented. Here are just a handful of design elements that were mentioned:

1- Understand the layout and use of the space while integrating it into the existing architecture.
2- Avoid direct line of sight.
3- Ensure proper UV dosages are being performed.
4- Review airflow. It is extremely important to transition and move the filtered air into that space to help reduce contaminants.

There are a lot of false claims around Coronavirus in general. Consider what the manufacturer is claiming when you are investigating a new product.
Some UV-C lighting has been tested using versions of the SARS-CoV-2 strain and have seen a significant life decay over a short amount of time. This also varies based on the dosage that the UV-C lighting presents.
One of the major lighting manufacturers recently announced that their UV-C light source test results show that above a specific dose of UV-C radiation, viruses were completely inactivated in a matter of seconds and they could no longer detect any virus.

“As we know, viruses are not living organisms. UV-C may work to inactivate certain viruses but in regards to COVID-19 we’re still waiting and hoping to receive peer reviewed testing and their results not just from a manufacturer’s tests”, says Guy.

UV-C lighting is not new to some industries. In fact, it has been around since the mid-1930s. You can find them being used in hospitals, hotels, offices, schools and some retail locations. There are different types available depending on the room or task requirements.

At the end of the day, it’s all about staying educated, receiving validation, and engaging a professional design firm to investigate the advantages and disadvantages of UV-C systems. Before making any purchases, contact Envari Energy Solutions for your lighting design needs.