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How UVC technology helps facilities managers achieve WELL Building certification

As awareness and understanding of indoor air quality (IAQ) and its importance within occupied spaces increases, facilities managers are turning to accreditation schemes such as the WELL Building Standard™ in order to improve standards within their buildings.

WELL is an evidence-based system for measuring, certifying and monitoring aspects of building performance that affect health and wellbeing.

Once accreditation is achieved, performance data is submitted annually and certification is valid for three years. After this time, performance verification is required to gain recertification and WELL accreditation may be removed if the quality of the building’s indoor environment declines.

The WELL standard for air is based on achieving certain preconditions:

·         Air filtration

·         Microbe and mould control

·         Moisture management

There are also optimisations, which are not essential but help achieve a higher level of certification:

·         Humidity control

·         Direct source ventilation

·         Air quality monitoring and feedback

·         Advanced air purification

·         Antimicrobial activity for surfaces

Among the WELL preconditions is ultraviolet-C (UVC) light disinfection of cooling coils. Mould often grows on cooling coils in HVAC systems due to moisture condensation and can be introduced into the building’s occupied spaces via the air stream.

Mould spores can trigger asthma, headaches, allergies and other respiratory system disorders which in turn impact productivity, absenteeism and employee turnover.

Indoor air quality is also affected by weather, dust, traffic and localised pollutant sources including pollen which can trigger asthma and allergies in sensitive individuals.

Exposure to high levels of coarse and fine particulate matter introduced from the outside can lead to respiratory irritation and has been associated with increases in lung cancer as well as cardiovascular disease and mortality.

In buildings that rely on a mechanical system for cooling, WELL states that one of the following requirements must be met:

a. Ultraviolet lamps (using a wavelength of 254 nm so as not to generate ozone) are employed on the cooling coils and drain pans of the mechanical system supplies. Irradiance reaching the cooling coil and drain pan, including the plenum corners, is modelled.

b. Building policy states that all cooling coils are inspected on a quarterly basis for mould growth and cleaned if necessary. Dated photos demonstrating adherence are provided to the IWBI (International WELL Building Institute) on an annual basis.

UVC for HVAC will protect asset value with a 24/7 non-invasive cleaning regime modelled to disinfect the surface and full depth of the coil, while manual cleaning is time consuming and costly and will only remove mould temporarily. In addition, manual cleaning is invasive and labour intensive and can damage cooling coil fins, plus it will only impact on the surface of the coil and possibly push biofilm and debris into the coil.

Meanwhile, WELL requires spaces with more than 10 regular occupants, within buildings that recirculate air, to use one of the following treatments or technologies to treat the recirculated air, either integrated within the central ventilation system or as a standalone device:

a. Ultraviolet germicidal irradiation (UVGI)

b. Photocatalytic oxidation

It’s clear that ultraviolet cleaning and protection of air handling systems forms a key part of WELL, with specialist providers such as Gibbons Ultraviolet Solutions seeing an increasing demand for their systems as its importance becomes more widely accepted.

CoilCare® applies UVC light to the surface and surrounding air of an air handling unit cooling coil, eradicating contaminants and protecting building occupants. Performance improvement often delivers a ROI within 24 months alone.

AirCare® is a state-of-the-art UVC solution for hygiene and odour control within workplace toilet facilities, where unpleasant odours, infectious microorganisms, mould and other harmful impurities as well as harsh fumes from chemical cleaners and fragrance dispensers are common.

InDuct air treatment systems improve IAQ by removing odours, bacteria, viruses and other organic growth in the air and in AHUs and ductwork.

NextGen is specifically aimed at Air Filtration.  With a MERV 16 low pressure drop filter and active UVC it directly addresses WELL Preconditions. Next Gen removes PM2.5 particulate and has a long service life of 12 months.

Gibbons’ ultraviolet solutions are easily fitted to new and existing installations and require very little maintenance, making them the systems of choice for UK facilities managers.

For more information on how Gibbons Ultraviolet Solutions can assist with WELL Building Standard accreditation, call Colin Hardman on 07940 544206 or email colin@gibbonsgroup.co.uk

Ultraviolet Solutions

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