Green Arc Energy Advisors.

Solutions for the Effective Use of Light to Mitigate Bacterial and Viral Exposures Within Commercial Real Estate

Green Arc Lighting publishes report on effective solutions using UV-C to sanitize commercial real estate

NEW YORK, NEW YORK, USA, May 5, 2020 / -- We have all crossed into a new plane. Whether we like it or not, the coronavirus has changed the manner in which everyone will live their life, and the way all public spaces will be operated. The decisions to act are no longer voluntary. However, the expectation that social distancing and cleaning will deliver the necessary protections to keep commercial spaces safe is unrealistic. Prolonged social distancing is not sustainable as even after the recent and relatively short quarantine periods in the US, people are anxious to socialize. There is no single solution that can provide absolute protection, but a combination of new behaviors and installed systems in combination can be highly efficacious to facilitate a return to normal, socialized life. Companies are absorbed with devising temporary plans to provide social distancing in already built environments in “return to work” plans. Architects are involved with space designs that could upend all of the beneficial densification and collaboration of the past decade.

The result of these efforts could lead to: 1) increased costs as companies look to spread out individual workspaces and require more space to fit their plans; 2) hoteling or A/B team solutions which require extreme diligence in cleaning of workspaces that will now be shared in shifts; or 3) more remote working which many employees find challenging due to distractions or the lack of adequate work space. Commercial real estate owners of office buildings and retail centers have never faced such a compelling need to focus on anti-bacterial measures that might be incorporated into their buildings. Medical facilities have incorporated HVAC filtration and UV light to remediate bacteria and viruses. Now, the current situation has demonstrated that all environments need to consider such building systems’ solutions, alongside social distancing and more aggressive cleaning protocols that are already well-established in hospitals.

In response to these challenges and at the request of some of its commercial clients, Green Arc Lighting has evaluated how light-based germ mitigation measures already in use in medical environments can be incorporated in other environments. The lethality and speed of 2020 COVID-19 transmission has increased the focus on germ mitigation, moving these investigations from “in-the-future” to “here-and-now.” We have considered the issues surrounding new build outs, and retro-conversions, to come up with actionable solutions that can be incorporated into office spaces, stores and warehouses. Senior housing and schools may also incorporate this solution, especially in facilities using non-central HVAC systems.

The outbreak of the COVID-19 virus has demonstrated the need to more effectively mitigate against the transmission of bacterial and viral agents in the built environment. The totality of vectors of transmission are still being learned, but what has emerged as prescient, is the need to suppress air-based transmission. Even within some frontline hospital spaces, the effectiveness of existing measures has come up short, as it appears that aerosolized viral agents are contributing to the situation, and mitigation measures are insufficient.

The question becomes, as an owner/operator of commercial real estate, what do we do?
What solution(s) can be incorporated into our properties…

  • How do we protect our tenancy/guests?
  • Can measures be implemented that do not adversely affect the existing aesthetics?
  • What level of protection will these initiatives provide, and against what?
  • Within a realistic budget?
  • What is the cost and who will absorb it?

All of these are very valid questions, and complicated to answer. Different spaces will have different requirements. While historically, the air within hospitals was considered the most fragile, the lethality of COVID has demonstrated that it is no longer the only building type where such an infection can spread. As it is not practical to assume that we can live in laboratory-like environments, we need real solutions, with manageable expectations of protection.

Green Arc vetted a number of prospective solutions, and focused its analysis on light-based measures, which are demonstrating significant efficacy in managing the spread of airborne pathogens. There are several differing mechanisms being deployed, all of which have value. As noted, while each system demonstrates effectiveness in mitigation, no one process is a silver bullet. The level of protection most would hope to expect, must be coupled with sound sanitary practices, such as regular surface cleaning.

It should be noted here, that the use of light/energy sources for sanitation have been used for over 100 years, with a wealth of empirical data to support them. It is possible to get into the weeds when making these assessments, so we have attempted to develop a simple framework to facilitate an analysis and assemble an actionable plan. As the possibility of repeated incidents of viral epidemics is real, this consideration cannot be tabled. It will become incumbent on all owners to be sure that they have demonstrated a proper mitigation plan to current and prospective clients and executed it. No one wants to be found remiss with the associated contingencies

The complete complimentary report is available from Green Arc to users by request. Please send an email to requesting the UV-C Mitigation Report.

Guy Albert de Chimay
Green Arc Energy Advisors LLC
+1 212-710-0325
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