This global pandemic has, without a doubt, changed the way the world does business. While some companies are struggling, others will thrive by utilizing innovative solutions. A UV-C LED lighting solution can help bring back your rental customers, as it is a widely accepted and easy to use method for killing viruses and bacteria. Additionally, UV-C LED lights can make your rental facility money by renting it out to customers that need a virus-killing solution for their jobs and events.
As the economy reopens, customers are cautious about sharing with others. For the rental equipment market specifically, that thought process is problematic to the bottom line. Customers and the general public need to know about your safe and carefully laid out disinfecting tactics before they make the decision to come to your facility to rent.
UV-C LED light is a chemical-free, low-touch technique used to decontaminate anything the UV light can reach. Hospital rooms have been using this for decades to sterilize rooms between patients. Now, in the world of COVID-19, it is being used to decontaminate tools, equipment, spaces, rooms, areas, PPE, and more. UV-C LED light is a saving grace for business owners and consumers alike. However, it was a virtually un-used method outside of healthcare before the pandemic, so education is important to understand how to use it properly.
What is UV-C?
UV-C light is a type of ultraviolet light on the electromagnetic spectrum. Ultraviolet light is invisible to the human eye, but we are exposed to low levels of UV light from the sun’s rays every day on earth. There are three types of UV light: UV-A, UV-B, and UV-C. UV-A and UV-B enter Earth’s atmosphere and are the cause of suntans and sunburns. UV-C light is much stronger. It uses short-wavelength ultraviolet radiation that is blocked from entering the planet through the ozone layer – but it can be recreated on Earth. It is the type of wavelength that allows UV-C light to effectively enter and penetrate the RNA cells of microorganisms, damaging the nucleic acids within. This renders bacteria and viruses inactive and unable to survive.
It is important to remember that UV-C can also be very harmful to humans. The same wavelength that can enter the RNA of microbes can enter the DNA of humans. It is of the utmost importance to take special safety precautions when handling UV-C light.
LED vs Bulbs
The question of which technology is better, LED or bulb-based lighting, is necessary to talk about. The effectiveness of LED light significantly outweighs bulb-based light on the UV spectrum.
One of the main reasons LED is the better technology is that UV-C bulbs can be a serious hazard. They contain Mercury, so when the glass breaks, it releases toxins. As highlighted above, UV light is invisible, so the blue glow that is associated with UV-C light is the ionized Mercury. LEDs, on the other hand, do not have Mercury within them, which makes them the safer, toxin-free technology1 .
UV-C LED light also has a higher power with a smaller carbon footprint compared to bulb-based technology (similar to visible LED light versus bulb-based light). LEDs can be switched on and off instantly with no wait time required; they use only a fraction of the wattage compared to bulbs and LEDs have a stronger, more direct light output. Most importantly, UV-C LED technology has a longer lifetime value than bulb-based technology2.
UV-C in the Rental Industry
Utilizing UV-C decontaminating practices is vital in bringing back customers. Since rental equipment and construction tools are so easily shared amongst colleagues and strangers, it is vital to ensure they are decontaminated thoroughly. In a study conducted by Haddad et all. (2017), they assessed the effectiveness of adding UV-C light to manual cleaning techniques. They discovered that adding UV-C light to the routine cleaning methods effectively eliminated 70% more microorganisms than just manual cleaning alone.
One common practice for UV-C decontamination is utilizing an old sea container and fitting it with UV-C LED lights that are mounted to the walls within. Once there are a few equipment tools ready, place them in the middle of the container and blast them with UV-C LED lights. An example of the configuration can be seen below.
Lind Equipment UV-C Application for Container Decontamination
Another common method is to place the UV-C lights throughout the rental showroom and, with a timer placed on the lights, decontaminate the equipment at the end of the day once everyone has left the facility. This method is commonly used for large spaces and areas.
There are many U.S. and Canadian UV-C lighting manufacturers that provide their customers with UV-C lighting layout assistance. They help users evaluate their space and timing needs, then explain how to properly buy and set up UV-C lights to best decontaminate their space. The manufacturers use science to back up their claims for UV-C dose/decontamination times.
Be warned, there are many types of UV-C products out there today, but it is imperative that the UV-C light you choose has scientific studies and data driven resources to verify their claims. UV-C can be a dangerous and even an ineffective tool if it is not understood or used properly.
UV-C as a Rental Tool
Rental equipment facilities can use UV-C light for decontamination internally, but it can also be utilized externally as rental equipment for consumers. Plenty of people would like to have better decontamination methods, especially as customers continue to reopen shops and host larger events. The same decontamination methods that apply to your shop can apply to your customers. There are various tools that you can use to ensure you are protected and not liable for any accidents caused by UV-C equipment, similar to other tools that are rented out.
One way is to add clauses in your rental contracts that has the customer accept any risks with UVC lighting. Your facility can create UV-C education web pages and handouts that explain how to use the light and all the warnings associated with it. Also, simply educating staff on the UV-C decontamination methods to better inform customers of what UV-C light is is a great way to pass along the proper information.
UV-C LED light is an amazing asset that will only continue to grow in demand and availability. Being on the starting line of a product that will inevitability be part of the new world is an investment that is hard to pass up. UV-C LED light will bring back your rental customers by regaining their trust with its proven and safe decontaminating methods, and it can be an essential asset to your rental fleet.