October 22, 2007
Emory shines with UVC light and cleaner HVAC systems
Barbara Hudson is manager of training and communications for Campus Services.
The University has set a goal to reduce its energy consumption by 25 percent over the next eight years. To help Emory reach this goal, Campus Services is using revolutionary germicidal technology in some of the University’s heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems that save up to 5 percent of a building’s total energy consumption.
Over the past year, Campus Services has been collaborating with EnviroMax Engineering Inc. to install germicidal light grids in the HVAC systems. By using a disinfectant quality of short wave ultraviolet lights, known as UVC or germicidal light, HVAC systems stay cleaner for longer, which increases efficiency and lowers energy costs.
Germicidal light fixtures are installed next to cooling coils where UVC rays continuously clean the systems by destroying particulate contamination and sterilizing the coils, insulation, interior walls and blower fans. By restricting the buildup of mold and particulate, the efficiency of a ventilation system increases. Cleaner HVAC systems provide an array of benefits: better performance, energy savings and improved air quality.
“A cleaner system doesn’t require as much energy to perform the same ventilation and temperature control functions, and that lowers operating costs,” said Charles Norris, director of maintenance administration. “At Gambrell Hall the HVAC air-flow capacity has increased by 20 percent since we installed the ultraviolet lights. With the rising cost of energy, the timing is perfect.”
Contamination buildup diminishes airflow and restricts the ability of HVAC. “Germicidal lights also have improved the capacity of Emory’s HVAC coils to extract heat and lower humidity,” said Rickey Ray, preventative maintenance supervisor for Campus Services. The system was installed on coils at Gambrell that were more than 30 years old. “They don’t just look brand new, the performance and efficiency has greatly improved,” Ray said.
By using this cleaning process, Emory is saving on more than just energy bills. “We no longer have to purchase the volume of chemical coil cleaners and biocides for these buildings, and by using fewer chemicals we’re further protecting the environment,” said Ray.
The Environmental Protection Agency implicates dirty HVAC systems as the primary cause for most indoor air quality problems. Indoor air quality has always been a high priority at Emory, which is why the University invests heavily in preventative maintenance on HVAC systems. “Our number one goal is to provide the healthiest indoor environment for our students, staff and faculty,” said Norris. “Cleaner air-conditioning systems are a key to that goal.”