Out of all the things that have changed since the pandemic began, the need to have clean air inside facilities has become a top issue for lots of different industries. Business leaders have been looking for logical and affordable solutions to help their customers and employees breathe a little easier inside their spaces. For many, this can mean the difference between remaining open or being forced to close their operations.
The most notable and high-profile examples of this issue arose in the meat and poultry industries last year, which faced numerous facility closings due to infection transmissions within their plants. But those were not the only examples. Lots of other business large and small are now working to manage the same concern, each based on their own unique circumstances. This has led to several interesting developments and also some unexpected positive benefits.
Tiny, Floating Threats
Most people would probably be surprised at the number of problematic particles floating around their places of business. Germs are among the most threatening of these today, largely due to the fact that a single infected individual can transmit pathogens to an entire company under the right indoor conditions. It’s actually one of the leading reasons for the pandemic’s prevalence.
In addition to germs, things like CO2, toxic dusts, harmful emissions, and other particulates like volatile organic compounds (VOCs) can significantly impact human health. In the worst cases, they can even cause diseases like cancer.
What Have Companies Been Using?
The big trend in clean air investment lately has been the increased use of ultraviolet (UV) light to kill germs. This has been especially true in factory, healthcare, and academic settings.
UV light is a very old method of germicide, and it’s an effective one. The FDA has approved UV technology for germ-killing because sufficient exposure can render many kinds of disease-causing microbes inactive, including COVID, measles, tuberculosis, and many others. Plus, UV devices are non-toxic, relatively inexpensive, and are typically easy to install. Many models are totally freestanding and function independently of existing HVAC systems.
Griffith-based Opti-Air UV is one of the leading companies in Indiana producing technology for indoor air purification. Last year, they were contracted to install UV filtration devices inside many of the U.S. facilities for one of the world’s largest producers of meat and poultry products. In short, they were an integral part of keeping America’s meat industry running during the pandemic.
“Whenever people are together indoors, germs can easily spread. UV light filtration is a safe and affordable upgrade that can make a real difference in keeping people safe,” said Andrew Cleland, vice president of operations at Opti-Air UV.
“When compared against the risks of a plant closure or the negative stigma of a restaurant being associated with a superspreading event, extra preventative measures to improve air quality can be one of the smartest facility investments a company can make,” they said.
Extra Benefits of Cleaner Air
Cleaner indoor air can lead to several additional benefits aside from reduced disease transmission. As explained in Science magazine, researchers across several multi-year studies found that people working in well-ventilated conditions had much greater rates of cognitive performance.
In fact, those individuals scored an average of 26.4% higher on cognitive testing, reported sleeping better, and had fewer additional negative symptoms. Those in the cleanest air conditions scored up to 101% better than those who worked in environments with the poorest air quality.
According to the researchers, “Improved ventilation could increase a business’s bottom line by as much as 10% by decreasing absenteeism and boosting worker productivity.”
Additionally, companies that do install air purification systems can leverage that investment in their marketing as a demonstration of their commitment to keep their clients and workers protected. It provides an extra selling point to help firms stand out as the safest among their competitors.
Fresh Air is the Future
The focus on fresh air indoors is most certainly going to be a major facility trend moving forward. Fortunately, business leaders should know they have a safe and reasonably affordable solution at their disposal in the form of upgrades like UV-enabled air purification to kill germs and keep their people safe. Such a simple thing like cleaner air could be the factor that makes or breaks businesses in the coming years and will definitely be an element to consider on all new and existing building projects.
Facilities that are Actively Implementing Air Cleaning
- Manufacturing Plants
- Educational Institutions
- Medical Facilities
- Gyms/Fitness Spaces
- Professional Offices
- Food Production Environments
- Restaurants and Bars
- Large Event Venues
- And Many Others