By Paul Tarricone
Through the years, I’ve heard more than a few highly respected members of the lighting community observe that “at the end of the day, it’s just lighting.” These words are not meant to denigrate their own profession. Sometimes, lighting folks are frustrated that their work takes a back seat to architecture, or that value engineering has reared its head, or that clients and end users don’t really understand lighting’s role in a project or in their lives. On other occasions, the comment was meant to express that in the grand scheme of things, lighting isn’t a matter of life and death.
Until it is.
During the pandemic, the use of UV-C light to combat the coronavirus has brought the industry front and center. This spring, New York City received national coverage for a pilot program that uses UV-C light to clean subway cars, stations and buses. MIT, meanwhile, recently gained attention for a UV-C light-wielding robot which may have the potential to disinfect a 4,000-sq ft floor in just 30 minutes. The school foresees applications that include grocery stores, warehouses and schools. Other disinfection initiatives in the news range from tribal casinos in Wisconsin to JetBlue aircraft cabins.
Beginning on p. 24, we offer a package of articles on UV-C light, including a contributed piece from Michael Litvin of Pure Lighting on how to safely deploy the technology, an update on an IES initiative to jointly write standards on UV-C disinfection and more details on a few applications already in progress. If the past few months have shown us anything, it’s that we will need every technological arrow in the quiver to combat the coronavirus. And lighting is pointed directly at the target. It’s not just lighting. It’s a weapon.