May 30, 2020 Go Back To School With Ultraviolet Light
Lower the Spread of the Flu
School is back in session and cold and flu season isn’t far behind. If you’re a facility manager at a school, university or some other educational facility, you are looking to your HVAC/R system to maintain indoor air quality and efficient operation throughout the upcoming year. Ultraviolet germicidal (UV-C) lamps can be a great tool to help you achieve these goals.
A large chunk of your maintenance issues are no doubt caused by microbial growth on cooling coils and other HVAC/R components. As these microbes proliferate, they increase pressure drop and reduce heat transfer efficiency. The result is as much as a 25 percent increase in energy use.
Save money with UV-C
With the funding shortages most schools face today, spending extra money just to maintain indoor comfort and/or to manually clean the coils throughout the year isn’t ideal. Ultraviolet lamps provide a permanent solution. Their germicidal power kills up to 90 percent of microorganisms living on HVAC/R components. Once installed, they work 24/7/365 to eliminate the need for costly chemical cleanings and the labor that they entail.
And this solution doesn’t break the bank. In fact, quite the opposite. UV-C fixtures from UV Resources are among the most affordable on the market. Using a 10,000 cfm system as an example, the installed UV-C fixtures would cost $1,500, with an annual operating cost of $188 at $0.10/kW – operating around the clock. That is less than one percent of the average power savings gained through a more efficient (better heat transfer and lower pressure drop) air conditioning system.
The initial cost of a UV-C system is about the same as a single mechanical coil-cleaning procedure, and less when system shutdowns, off-hours work with the associated overtime, and/or contractor labor costs, are considered. Indeed, without UV-C, cleanings are recommended at least once per year to prevent mold growth and capacity loss and to keep contaminants from compacting deep within the coil. With staffs and budgets shrinking, however, time and money for in-house or contracted coil cleaning is becoming scarce. As a result, it might be more rational to make a one-time investment in a UV-C system that will keep cooling coils at as-built conditions.
The lamps do need to be replaced once per year, and costs have been decreasing on that front as well. Typically, high output lamps can be replaced at less than $0.03 per CFM. Talk about a good ROI. For a mere fraction of the energy savings, you can boost AHU capacity, save energy and lower maintenance costs.
Maximize energy savings and indoor comfort
Once you make the initial investment in ultraviolet lamps, you’ll keep earning dividends for years to come in the form of energy savings. The UV-C will remove coil-fouling microbes and prevent new ones from forming. Over that past few years, the University of Arkansas installed UV lamps across campus and was able to boost airflow levels by 127 percent on one particular air-handling unit.
UV-C will also help eliminate potential disease-carrying microorganisms, which is always a major benefit in a school during flu season. For infection control specifically, upper air, wall-hung ultraviolet lamps can eliminate germs in the upper air and help mitigate nosocomial infections, colds and flu, etc. Schenectady County Community College in New York installed 20 upper air UV units across campus, including infection prone areas such as in the daycare center, student lounge and cafeteria.
Ultraviolet lamps are a great “back-to-school supply” for facility managers, whether they are installed inside an HVAC system or in the upper air. More affordable than traditional coil cleanings, and able to save energy and improve the entire indoor environment, UV-C should not be ignored as a tool to help campuses everywhere breathe easier.
Get started on your UV journey HERE.