Operating Room - UVC lights provide infection control, green benefits

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Courtesy of E-CO

Muskogee Community Hospital (Muskogee, OK) is using germicidal UVC (ultraviolet C) Emitters™ from Steril-Aire as part of an innovative infection control measure. The devices were installed in the air handling units and in custom-designed, ceilingmounted units in the surgical and procedural suites, marking the first time a hospital has used UVC technology in this way.

Steril-Aire devices use high output UVC energy to eradicate airborne viruses and bacteria as well as surface biofilm/ mold and pathogens, to improve indoor air quality and help reduce hospital acquired infections. At MCH, the UVC devices were installed in the outside air intake; in the 77 individual air handling units that serve virtually all patient areas; and in seven ceiling-mounted devices that are specially engineered for “after-hours” disinfection of the surgical and procedural areas with cleansing germicidal light.

MCH's environmentally friendly construction has made it the first healthcare facility to garner the EPA’s “Designed to Earn the ENERGY STAR” recognition. MCH is also the first hospital to use a closed-loop ground source geothermal system that covers the facility’s entire heating and cooling needs, in place of a traditional central HVAC system.

The use of the geothermal heat pumps give MCH much better zoned control while also saving energy. Installing Steril- Aire UVC Emitters in the heat pump units serving the patient rooms provides an added cost savings benefit, in both maintenance costs and energy consumption. As the UVC continuously cleans the coil and drain pan surfaces of biofilm buildup, it helps reduce and even eliminate the need for costly manual cleaning and keeps the units in ‘as-new’ condition so they run more efficiently.

Steril-Aire Inc. offers a range of products for healthcare applications including UVC Emitters designed for installation in HVAC systems where they destroy microorganisms including flu viruses, bacteria and biofilm/mold. The devices come in a range of sizes and configurations to fit all types of air handlers, large and small. For example, Steril-Aire singleended (SE Series) UVC Emitters install from the exterior of HVAC equipment, providing high output germicidal protection for systems that are limited in space or difficult to access. Applications include heat pumps, fan coils, unit ventilators, terminal units and ductwork. The device is available in a variety of tube lengths and voltage options. Portable room air purifiers using the technology are also available for spot air cleaning. In addition, Steril-Aire offers both installed and portable UVC devices that provide targeted decontamination of surfaces in laboratories, surgical suites and other critical areas.

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