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UVGI TO IMPROVE INDOOR AIR QUALITY (IAQ) IN HEALTHCARE FACILITIES

Article By MG Cooling Solutions In UVGI - June 5, 2021

During the COVID-19 pandemic maintaining a hygienic environment has become even more important for the healthy being as the infection spread rapidly. In these difficult times when numbers of people are hospitalised while other needs medical attention it becomes very important that the healthcare facilities and hospitals pay particular attention to indoor air concerns. Hospitals are generally served by a Centralised HVAC system with ducts distributing the conditioned air to various compartments, wards, rooms etc. The existence of microorganisms along with the COVID-19 virus in the air, especially those from sick patients circulate freely in the indoor environment from one area to another resulting in cross-contamination which poses a great life-threatening risk to patients with low immunity, along with doctors, nurses, visitors and other medical staff 

Healthcare facilities and hospitals having poor or inefficient HVAC systems are at a higher risk of developing illnesses caused by airborne contaminants including COVID-19, and these illnesses will harm the productivity of the hospital staff as either they will operate at reduced capacity or miss work entirely due to respiratory illnesses. Patients suffering from the disease can be a source of contamination to others by spreading infection through their clothes, touch, and transmission through the air.  

ULTRAVIOLET GERMICIDAL IRRADIATION (UVGI) for HVAC is a very effective method for removing volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and for killing bacteria, viruses, mould spores and other pathogenic microorganisms present in the indoor air environment including the novel coronavirus. UVGI technology makes use of ultraviolet radiations with a wavelength of 254 nm to kill microorganisms by disrupting their DNA and RNA leaving them unable to perform vital cellular functions. UVGI technology is better than traditional chemical disinfection in many ways. It is not only cost-effective but also an eco-friendly method providing a germ-free environment.  

Almost 60% of all UVGI air disinfection systems are installed in healthcare facilities and hospitals. Recently the use of mobile UV devices has gained attention for terminal cleaning of patient rooms, isolation rooms and operating rooms. The use of UVGI for air disinfection can reduce the transmission of airborne bacterial and viral infections in hospitals. Three UVGI system can be used for this purpose: – 

  1. Duct irradiation: in this UV lamps are placed inside air handler ducts that disinfect the air coming from the outside or recirculated air from inside the building. To disinfect moving air higher intensity ultraviolet is required due to the short residence time. 
  2. Upper air irradiation: in this UVGI lamps are mounted above the occupant’s level above 8 feet and irradiate the upper air in the room through convective air currents within the room. The bottom of the UV lamp is shielded to direct the radiation upward but not downward to prevent UV exposure to occupants of the room. It can be used to inactivate airborne pathogen in TB ward, isolation or treatment rooms, waiting rooms, emergency rooms, corridors and other central areas of the facility where the risk of infection by cross-contamination are high
  3. HVAC Cooling coil irradiation: cooling coils, drain pans, plenum walls and air filters provide the environment that supports the growth of microorganism. UV lamps installed near cooling coils will irradiate coil surfaces 24/7, this will eliminate microbial contamination and improve indoor air quality inside the hospitals. 

Environmental surfaces can also be a reason for the transmission of healthcare-associated pathogens. The use of UVGI devices for room decontamination can reduce the bio-burden on high touch surfaces in acute care hospital rooms and results in the reduction of hospital-acquired infection (HAI) rates. Benefits of installing UVGI devices in healthcare facilities: –

  • Better indoor air quality (IAQ) and providing a safer indoor environment by destroying harmful airborne contaminants 
  • Increasing the efficiency of the AHU results in the reduced energy cost 
  • Lower maintenance cost
  • Reduction in hospital-acquired infections
  • Productivity will be increased
  • Elimination of odours coming from outside or recirculate air  

MG COOLING SOLUTIONS a leading HVAC enterprise will provide you with best UVGI devices that will help you to create a COVID free space. We will take care of all your heating, cooling, ventilation and air decontamination needs. Installing a proper UVGI in your HVAC will not only increase its life span but also reduces its operational cost.

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