Some area businesses can cash in on valuable rebates for employing technology that uses ultraviolet radiation to scrub germs from the air in their facilities.
The rebate program announced this week by SRP invites commercial customers to attend an upcoming webinar to learn more about the technology, associated cost savings and potential health benefits.
Mike Green, a senior program manager at SRP, said company officials wanted to foster proven germicidal technologies in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak.
“We recognized this as an effective but energy-intensive solution considering Arizona’s summer temperatures. We also recognized an influx of untested and unproven air filtration systems claiming to be effective against the COVID-19 virus,” Mr. Green told Daily Independent.
He said ultraviolet germicidal irradiation, or UVGI, was a tested and effective technology for reducing airborne infections in commercial and institutional settings.
“We worked with our program partners and identified UVGI as an effective and proven technology that’s been used in the health care heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems for decades,” Mr. Green stated.
Officials at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention agree UVGI can reduce infections, citing research into the use of the technology in health care settings, which is a longstanding practice.
The agency identified UVGI as deserving a Category II recommendation in its Environmental Infection Control Guidelines published in 2003. Technologies of that category are said to be “suggested for implementation and supported by suggestive clinical or epidemiologic studies, or a theoretical rationale.”
Officials at CDC said the method is effective at reducing both bacterial and viral transmissions, but not as effective against the spread of airborne fungal infections.
“As a supplemental air-cleaning measure, UVGI is effective in reducing the transmission of airborne bacterial and viral infections in hospitals, military housing, and classrooms, but it has only a minimal inactivating effect on fungal spores,” the report states.
According to CDC, many UVGI units employ a low-pressure mercury vapor lamp, which emits radiant energy in the ultraviolet range to kill some airborne pathogens.
Some hospital ultraviolet disinfectant systems are installed inside air ducts or HVAC systems; while other systems are installed such that the radiation only affects the upper portion of rooms.
In both cases, the purpose is to prevent exposing people to radiation while allowing proper air circulation to maintain effectiveness.
“Two systems of UVGI have been used in health care settings — duct irradiation and upper-room air irradiation. When properly designed, installed, and maintained, high levels of UVGI can be attained in the ducts with little or no exposure of persons in the rooms. In upper-room air irradiation, UV lamps are either suspended from the ceiling or mounted on the wall,” the report states.
Mr. Green said SRP scheduled its upcoming webinar, both to promote the rebate program and to clarify the effectiveness of UVGI in commercial settings.
“We felt it was a great opportunity to help our customers while they are navigating the process of reopening during the pandemic and help clear up misunderstanding about how the technology works,” Mr. Green said. “There are misconceptions about air purification technologies giving the air germicidal properties, but what it actually does is damage airborne viruses and bacteria while they are in range of the UVGI light.”
He said UVGI systems must be installed and operated properly to be effective. And it is just one method to reduce the chance of contracting airborne infections, such as the novel coronavirus.
“It’s important to remember that this is one part of a larger strategy customers need to employ to keep themselves and the public safe,” Mr. Green added.
SRP will host the UVGI rebate program webinar online at 11:30 a.m. Wednesday, Sept. 30 at savewithsrpbiz.com/uvgi.
To learn more about the technology or find a qualified HVAC contractor, commercial customers can visit savewithsrpbiz.com or call (602) 236-3054.
SRP is a not-for-profit public power utility serving more than 1 million customers in the Phoenix area. The utility provider also supplies an estimated 800,000 acre-feet of water to municipal, urban and agricultural water users each year.