“Coming out of this pandemic, the focus will be beyond just COVID-19,” says Luke Leung, director of sustainable engineering at Skidmore, Owings & Merrill in Chicago and commercial team leader for the ASHRAE Epidemic Task Force. “It will be just a holistically healthier environment.” These high-tech sanitation devices aim to offer added defense against viruses and other contaminants.
Light the Way
XtraLight’s high-power, mobile UV-C system is made for treating and disinfecting large communal spaces in under 20 minutes. The unit comes with protective gear and signage for safe operation.
XtraLight / xtralight.com
As expert guidance evolves, Transformative Wave’s eIQ, Catalyst and Cobalt building management platforms can adjust your space’s outside air settings remotely to improve ventilation.
Transformative Wave / transformativewave.com
Think Inside the Box
The Helios KSUV-18 Sterilizer Cabinet uses the power of UV-C light to sterilize knives and other kitchen tools, though operators now say they use the cabinet for sterilizing masks, as well.
Edlund / edlundco.com
First Things First
While solutions like air purifiers and UV-C lights can be a part of the solution, they’re not the first step. “The important thing is that you provide adequate ventilation first, before you think about all these other things,” says Luke Leung, director of sustainable engineering at Skidmore, Owings & Merrill in Chicago and commercial team leader for the ASHRAE Epidemic Task Force. “Then, on top of that, you provide the proper filtration, and usually that’s a MERV 13 filter.”
After that, Leung says, if there are areas where you need enhancement, then consider UV-C light; or in certain confined spaces where circulation is not as good, maybe you have a local air cleaner, he says. “Those are the measures you want to think about.”
Even so, there is no silver bullet. In many cases, being observant and using best practices can go a long way to keeping the air clear. If there are a lot of particulates in the air when you cook—for example, if you bake a lot of cakes with flour—during COVID, you want to make sure those procedures are carried out in a place where you can adequately exhaust them to the outside, says Leung.
And lastly, pay attention to airflow. A high velocity and high volume of airflow in a particular direction can add to the risk of virus spread. If you’re concerned, consider having a professional, such as an HVAC design engineer, come measure the flow of air in your facility to determine whether you have an issue or not.
Doing Your Homework
With so much new technology coming to the market claiming to clean the air and surfaces of harmful contaminants, how do you know what is effective? Leung recommends doing your research, checking government agency guidelines and manufacturer-provided information to find out:
- Does the CDC endorse or approve the technology or method?
- Does the EPA embrace it?
- What does the local jurisdiction say (for example, the state of California)?
- Does the manufacturer have independent research that says that the product works?
- Does the manufacturer provide proof that it doesn’t harm humans?
Look Ma, No Filter
Instead of relying on mechanical filtration, Bluezone/Middleby Viral Kill units use UV-enhanced oxidation to chemically attack airborne contaminants including viruses, mold and bacteria.
Middleby / bluezone.com
Filter Times Four
PuraShield air purification units roll into place and use multistage filtration— from a prefilter to trap dust, pollen and other large particulates to a final HEPA filter—to remove nearly all aerosols carrying viruses from air entering the unit.
Unified Brands / unifiedbrands.net
Clear Air Anywhere
This Halton Sentinel mobile UV germicidal irradiation filtration unit goes where permanent air purification systems can’t reach and uses MERV 13 air filters.
Halton / halton.com
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Holding cabinets can play a significant role in helping maintain food safety levels.