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The pandemic taught us a lot, but one of the most critical factors to evolve from it is how we can create healthier environments. The transfer of bacteria significantly impacts the health of our communities, particularly public spaces like hospitals, schools, and venues. These infections often spread from touching contaminated surfaces, such as door handles, push buttons and equipment. Most experts agree that a healthier environment could in turn improve our health.
We’ve realized that we need to keep our environments healthier with regular and consistent cleaning. Our homes, offices, schools and public places need regular vacuuming and dusting, including bedding covers, drapes, pillows, carpets and rugs. But people often forget other things, like door handles, and face plates on light switches —not to mention their indoor air quality, water quality, and even carbon footprint.
There are a lot of new innovative products available in the market to help us achieve just that. Here is my guide on how we can create healthier living environments, where we live, work, and play.
#1 Creating Healthier High-Touch Surfaces
One of the best things about being in the construction and building industry is I get exposed to many new and innovative products. Copper is one of those versatile materials that has been used for years. What’s great is that it can be used in many different applications and products to create healthier surfaces.
One of its key benefits is its natural bactericidal properties. It is also safe for people and the environment and is the only solid metal touch surface registered to make public health claims by Health Canada PMRA and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
When integrated into high-touch surfaces, such as door handles, sinks, countertops, desks, light switches, faucets, washroom door levers, railings and more, copper is proven to eliminate up to 99.9% of harmful bacteria within two hours. As a result, there is a growing use of antimicrobial copper worldwide to reduce the spread of bacteria in high-traffic public environments. This includes transit, commercial spaces, sports facilities, healthcare facilities, and workplaces.
How Does The Copper Technology Work With Everyday Products
Incorporating bactericidal copper technologies using CuVerro Shield™️, a registered antimicrobial copper solid surface process technology, many commonly used products can be made into healthier high-touch surfaces. This will help to prevent the spread of bacteria in modern society which is something we should all aim for.
Allegion door hardware, including levers, exit devices, and door pulls/pushes, can help achieve healthier buildings. These products with antimicrobial copper alloy door hardware (surface technologies and properties) provide an excellent solution for doors in public facilities. For example in event venues, hospitals, institutions, and schools, including daycares. They also look great!
Delta® Commercial offers a complete range of faucets and flush valves with Copper Defense™️ Technology for prolonged, rigorous use. Plus, retrofit handle kits are available for popular models for easy and affordable upgrades. This is all with the Copper Defense™️ Technology that you can see —giving users a sense of relief.
Applications Where Copper Technology Can Be Used
Children and young people frequently congregate in enclosed indoor environments like schools, colleges, childcare centres, and other educational institutions, making them vulnerable to bacteria. Given the lack of cleanliness practices among very young children, daycare centres, in particular, are breeding grounds for germs. Ask any parent with preschoolers how often their kids get sick. Then of course the parents get sick. It’s a never-ending cycle.
My daughter Sherry is starting to experience this as my granddaughters have started daycare. Introducing copper products into these environments will help create a cleaner environment for our kids, grandkids, and future generations. Now that’s Making It Right!
Real-World Case Studies Using Copper Antimicrobial Technology
Several case studies worldwide have implemented antimicrobial copper in their spaces with excellent results.
Take the Laugh & Learn Daycare Center in Logan Lake, British Columbia sponsored by Teck Resources’ Copper & Health program. Antimicrobial copper was integrated into various high-touch surfaces —including faucets, door push plates, drawer handles and meal-serving benches and carts.
Another pilot project involved the installation of several types of copper solid surfaces on regularly touched surfaces on buses, trains and subway cars on the Vancouver and Toronto transit systems. This project has shown excellent results to date.
Vancouver’s International Airport (YVR) — Canada’s second busiest airport — has become Canada’s first airport to install antimicrobial copper surfaces and equipment. They have installed nearly 1,000 antimicrobial copper applications including on baggage carts, water fountains and washrooms throughout the terminal. They have also installed them at YVR’s executive offices.
The great thing about using copper as a natural antimicrobial is that it can be applied to a variety of surfaces including worktops, grab bars, pens, you name it. While it’s great to see all these great examples of companies working to make high-traffic environments healthier, I can’t wait to see what the future holds for this environment and where we’ll see it next.
#2 Improving IndoorAir Quality
Another thing the pandemic highlighted was the need for cleaner indoor air and proper ventilation in all buildings – public and private. I’ve said this many times before but it’s crucial to maintain a dry and well-ventilated indoor environment.