Shopping malls are an integral part of the community for shopping, dining, and entertainment experiences. Hundreds of people visit shopping malls every day, making them overwhelmingly crowded public places. Before the COVID-19 outbreak, people visited malls without any hesitation or worries about their health. However, today, people expect malls to provide them an extremely safe and hygienic environment.
While malls are following mandated COVID-19 protocols such as hand hygiene, masking, and social distancing, they fail to realize that their HVAC systems and indoor air quality could be potential hazards for their visitors.
HVAC systems tend to accumulate viruses, bacteria, mold, mildew, dust, other microorganisms and moisture easily during peak loads or when they are not cleaned at regular intervals. They may become faulty or not work properly. The coils which are usually located in the dark and damp areas are breeding grounds for mold and various types of bacteria. The coils can become contaminated with organic pollutants and biological agents.
Moreover, malls are enclosed spaces with poor ventilation. As a result, they recirculate stagnant and contaminated air on loop, reducing the Indoor Air Quality (IAQ). This presents serious health risks such as fatigue, headaches, dry skin, and respiratory illnesses.
HVAC systems are also carriers of coronavirus. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) mentions that SARS-CoV-2 spreads faster indoors than outdoors. Various studies show that the HVAC system can be an origin of airborne infections in an indoor environment. It can be a potential source of droplet, aerosol, and airborne transmission which are common carriers of coronavirus infection.
According to a study, there were significant concentrations of carbon dioxide, formaldehyde, carbon monoxide, hydrocarbons, PM10, and various strains of bacteria in the indoor air of nine shopping malls in Hong Kong. It is quite possible that most shopping malls would fall into this category. The United States Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA) states that poor IAQ can be responsible for irritation of the throat, nose, and eyes, sick building syndrome, headaches, dizziness, fatigue, heart diseases, respiratory diseases, and cancer.
Hence, shopping malls need to take extra care to make their customers feel safe, especially amidst the pandemic.
Ultraviolet Germicidal Irradiation (UVGI) is a proven, chemical-free, cost-effective, and eco-friendly air purification technology. It has been in use for more than 100 years to disinfect the air, water, and surfaces.
UVGI uses UV-C light at a wavelength of 200-280 nanometres to remove or inactivate viruses, bacteria, pathogens, and other microorganisms. UV-C destroys the nucleic acid present in the microorganisms at their DNA and RNA structure level. This renders the microorganisms ineffective to multiply or reproduce and infect people.
Research shows that UV light effectively kills SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. Another study finds that UV light exposure is a direct antimicrobial strategy and its effectiveness against different strains of airborne viruses has been established for a long time.
These days, UVGI has widespread usage in offices, hospitals, hotels, schools, and other commercial spaces. An increasing number of malls are also deploying UVGI for HVAC. Singapore-based Westgate is one of the pioneer malls which have implemented UVGI in their central air supply system to increase the IAQ.
Alfaa UV’s Ultra Coil and Ultra Duct UVGI systems use world-class UVC lamps and unmatched Reflector Technology with UL Certification to ensure that all air passing through the system is disinfected as it re-circulates in indoor spaces. The design ensures 100% exposure of the air to the UVC system.
Get in touch with Alfaa UV today.
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