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Pure lighting

David Clements, Chief Executive of FUTURE Designs explains how the careful deployment of UV-C lighting, aligned with the latest Smart technology could be a highly effective way of keeping work spaces COVID-free

2020 has been a year that no-one anticipated or could have prepared for and the even scarier part is that it is not over yet. In our favour, humans are very good at adapting and surviving, as uncomfortable as it may be for many of us.

Many workers in the developed world were very accustomed to the level of agility and flexibility we have achieved in our workplace. Technology has freed us from our desks, with the freedom to choose suitable spaces that suit the task in hand. However, the potency of the COVID virus threatens the way we all operate at home, on the commute and in our office.

Businesses have been taking small cautious steps towards recovery and figuring out the best way to open our offices, there are so many elements to figure out, from how many people can fit in a lift, operation of a canteen, to the use of break out spaces that would typically accommodate different people throughout the day.

Never before have organisations appreciated the skills of the facilities management teams to make sure that business finds a way through this. There are many innovations that are gathering pace that will support a Return to Work including touchless technology, increased cleaning and sanitisation and increased use of copper finishes (due to anti- bacterial qualities) and other anti-pathogen materials to name a few – no stone will be left unturned and this includes lighting.

The lighting in an office is a key element in creating a space that is conducive to productive working as well as creating a different ambience and mood for a variety of settings. But light comes in many forms and UV-C light may just be a major part of the solution in eliminating the COVID virus.

UV-C is not new technology; it has been utilised for years for tasks such as purifying water and in certain areas of hospitals. However, the current pandemic has brought its use to the fore due to its ability to eradicate bacteria, including viral particles.

The correct deployment of UV-C light could be a gamechanger for bringing employees back to the office, pupils and teachers back to schools and universities as well as filling the hospitality sector with life once more. There is a variety of evidence showing that, close to 90 per cent of airborne particles from a previous coronavirus (SARS-CoV-1) can be inactivated within 20 seconds at a ceiling height, as well as eliminating other bacteria and germs including E. coli.

FUTURE Designs has undertaken extensive research to develop UV-C germicidal technology that can be seamlessly integrated into existing LED light fittings, as well as incorporating this technology into air filtration systems to ensure that the surrounding air we breathe is cleansed and germ free.

However, this technology is not risk free, not only does the UV-C kill the bacteria and viruses, it is also potentially very harmful to humans. Therefore, any area in which the UV-C lighting technology is being deployed must be human free.

For this reason, the technology is particularly suitable to the ‘pod-style’ meeting spaces that can be monitored for occupation and the UV-C light can be used in between meeting to fully cleanse the space in an efficient and effective manner.

Smart technology, which is another leap in technology in terms of the way we live and work, is the perfect partner to the use of UV-C as it is imperative that any area is unoccupied to prevent harm to humans. The use of remote devices with limited access via Bluetooth and Interlocking door systems enable touch free control of spaces as well as ensuring that environments are human free prior to activating UV-C.

The IRYS pod, a unique modular concept, remains at the forefront of innovation and design since its launch in 2016. As we face new challenges in the workplace, IRYS has been reconfigured to incorporate the latest generation of UV-C lighting to ensure the space is rigorously sanitised between meetings to maintain the highest levels of hygiene, crucially preventing the spread of viruses.

Following extensive research with the original designers, Rainlight, and a team of lighting experts, Clestra has introduced a UV-C lighting component to IRYS, ensuring that between meetings the IRYS can be sanitised, ridding the space of harmful pathogens. UV-C is highly effective at killing bacteria and viruses by destroying the molecular bonds that connect its DNA, it is a staple method of sterilisation that is used in hospitals, airplanes and factories every day, and it is fast becoming a vital factor in fighting COVID-19.

Bluetooth technology is utilised to operate and integrate the conventional LED with the UV-C lamp system. It is impossible to switch both channels on at the same time which is critical as UV-C lighting is harmful to humans. The control system can ensure that the IRYS is clear of human presence prior to switching the UV-C lighting source on for a 15 to 20 mins cleansing cycle, once complete the space is ready for immediate use.

The original design was always intended to offer the ultimate flexibility in design as well as the capability to adapt to the latest tech and innovation, whether that be airflow management, electrical wiring, AV equipment as well as storage and this latest iteration is evidence of that.

Yorgo Lykouria, Founder and Creative Director of Rainlight says: “We created IRYS as a transformational device in the workplace to facilitate social interaction. As the most important aspect of workplace is the sharing of ideas, we are looking for ways to overcome the current challenges and allow business to flow as usual. Our latest iteration gives the user additional assurance that they are in a safe space free from harmful bacteria and viruses.”


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