Controls industry exec explains UV lighting and disinfection

May 26, 2020
In a quick video, Johnson Controls’ Matt DeLoge lays out some facts about UV-based disinfection, while MAURY WRIGHT clears up some confusion.

We continue to see a steady flow of press materials about the ultraviolet (UV) lighting sector, especially with regard to the coronavirus. And as I have written before, some of the press releases cover products and technologies that are clearly well researched and properly intended while others look more like attempts to make a quick book even if the technology might just be dangerous. It was very refreshing to see that Johnson Controls posted a short video breaking down the way UV can be used in disinfection. The video features Matt DeLoge, vice president of intelligent lighting solutions.

The subtitle of the video is “Using UV light to prevent, contain, and remove pathogens.” DeLoge covers a brief history of UV and also the research that has shown that both UV and short-wavelength visible light can kill microorganisms.

The presentations clearly defines how UV can be deployed in a safe manner, and in a way that will not harm humans. DeLoge also briefly discusses the near-UV technology down in the 200–220-nm range that may ultimately prove save for human exposure and also capable of destroying a virus.

UV is a complicated topic. And we will be offering more resources for you on the topic in the coming days. We are trying to get our stories right, but I was wrong about one element in a recent column. In an issue editorial, I addressed the ongoing reaction to the pandemic and some of the noble acts from players in the solid-state lighting industry (SSL) while also mentioning the attempts at taking advantage of the situation.

In the column linked above, I stated that UV-A-band and 405-nm visible light could kill the coronavirus given a lengthy exposure. That, however, is not known to be true. Emissions in those bands will kill bacteria. But there is research to be done on a virus. There is some preliminary data that shows such emissions might inactivate a virus, but the lengthy exposure required for continuous-disinfection applications might not be a good match for the problem at hand where it would be ideal to have the capability of immediately killing the virus on surfaces or in the air.

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