With Los Angeles County administering 9 million COVID-19 vaccinations, many Angelenos are slowly making the transition back to work.
Coretrust Capital Partners, which owns the 444 S. Flower Street office building, is helping tenants return safely by implementing anti-COVID-19 technology in its office buildings.
“What we’ve done (with these technological building improvements) is introduced an environment that is going to make employees more efficient and employers happier,” said John Sischo, a co-founder and managing principal with Coretrust.
“My view has been: The world changed (with the pandemic). It’s put people in a situation where they are restricted to certain environments, they’re fearful to go back to normal and they need to know they’re not going to get sick.”
The technology includes a touch-free elevator system with purified air, an air purification system that can cleanse the building’s air of pathogens in seconds and a robot that can disinfect a 1,000-square-foot room in three minutes by deactivating the DNA and RNA of viruses.
John Rhee, senior vice president and general manager of UBTECH North America, said that the disinfecting robot, known as ADIBOT, utilizes UVC light and radiation.
Though devices like the ADIBOT have been used in the health care industry for decades, Rhee explained that UBTECH “set out to deliver the same robust UVC strength at a fraction of the cost and with the safety features that are needed to deploy these devices outside of the health care space.”
There are a redundant amount of safety features included with the ADIBOT, Rhee said, which are necessary due to UVC radiation being harmful to people and pets. Coupled with an operator controlling the robot in a room separate from the disinfection site, the ADIBOT is equipped with artificial intelligence; PIR sensors, or passive infrared sensors, that detect motion; an RGB camera and much more.
The risk might be worth the reward, however, due to the multiple uses of the ADIBOT. Not only does the device disinfect airborne COVID-19 and anything the UVC light touches in a short amount of time, UBTECH is also working with companies like Coretrust to figure out what other pathogens can be targeted.
“I think we can all agree that we would rather live in a world with less common cold and less flu transmission in the workplace,” Rhee said. “The ADIBOT is relevant for COVID-19 reasons, but many companies are looking past that to create a safer environment.”
Thomas Ricci, co-founder of Coretrust Capital Partners, said, “Our plan is that we would deploy these (ADIBOT’s) in high-touch areas at night, like restrooms, conference rooms, elevators, etc. We would also offer it as a service to be utilized by our tenants at their discretion.”
Ricci explained that “historically, office buildings would minimize the amount of fresh air taken into the building and recirculate the air because it is much more energy efficient to manage air that has already been heated or cooled. Now, that’s completely changed.”
The ADIBOT is helping Coretrust run its buildings in a way that would let as much fresh air in from outside as possible, while recirculating clean, disinfected air.
The ADIBOT, however, is not the only disinfecting device helping Coretrust maintain a safe level of airflow throughout its buildings. Sanuvox, a manufacturer for ultraviolet air purification, works with distribution, installation and maintenance company Ramtek to provide Coretrust with UVC-disinfected air throughout air ducts.
Christopher Curtis, mechanical sales manager with Ramtek, said Sanuvox’s in-duct UVC air purification works like UBTECH’s ADIBOT but at a faster rate and with larger UVC lamps.
“When we talk about air disinfection, we don’t have the luxury of time, because the air is moving fast through the air duct. We size our UVC lamps based on how fast the air moves,” Curtis said.
Coretrust uses over 20 systems of Sanovox’s in-duct UVC lamps, with five lamps in each system. The systems are placed throughout the building depending on the building’s ductwork and air intake.
“The system is designed to kill pathogens instantly,” Curtis said, placing an emphasis on the sizing of the lamps. “The time it takes from the beginning of the bulb to the end of the bulb is your expose time, so depending on how big your duct is, how fast your air is moving, what you are targeting, that’s how big the lamps will be.”
“As the air leaves the unit for the first time, we are aiming to kill 99% of whatever your targeted pathogen is. COVID-19, the flu, common cold, anthrax, we can size (our lamps) for all of that,” Curtis explained.
Though 20-something systems for a building like 444 S. Flower Street may not sound like a lot, Curtis said Ramtek will look at each building individually and strategically place each system for the optimal disinfection rate.
“It depends on the main facility design; every building will be different. … We’re finding the key points and targeting that,” Curtis said.
Jacob Seuser, mechanical sales engineer with Ramtek, said that the lamp sizing and effectiveness is measured by third-party labs, which is essentially used to judge the kill rate of each pathogen.
“We have a calculation, and all of it is based on independent research,” Seuser said.
Ramtek looks at studies from the French Army, for example, to decide how much exposure to UVC light is required to kill COVID-19; in other words, how strong and big the lamps need to be to kill COVID-19 within the allotted exposure time.
“All of (Coretrust’s) properties are on the same journey,” Ricci said about the technology being introduced to 444 S. Flower Street. “We have been intently focused on proactively addressing our tenants’ and customers’ concerns about returning to the workplace. … The air that is distributed to the building is as safe, healthy and clean as we can possibly make it. This is hospital-grade technology that we are deploying into our office buildings.”
(Source:Downtown Los Angeles)