Pinkston Reception

Protecting Our Most Valuable Resource

As the coronavirus pandemic continues to hammer the United States and the rest of the world, its impact on the ways we live, work and play are hard to understate. World leaders are eager to get the economy back on track, those who can’t work from home need to be able to get back to work, and even those of us who can work at home are ready for things to return to normal -- or at least to a new normal.

Lifting stay-home orders and restrictions on even small gatherings will require confidence among everyone involved that people will be safe in close quarters. And in order to build that confidence, businesses in particular face a new normal that requires us to rethink the way we protect employees throughout the work day.

The coronavirus has shown that the traditional model of nightly cleaning is not a sufficient barrier against aggressive viruses. Once a surface has been cleaned, it is immediately susceptible to contamination. If an asymptomatic employee comes to work, everything they touch could transfer their infection to their coworkers the same day before the cleaning crew even arrives.

In the new normal, we need solutions that will continuously sanitize throughout the day to add extra layers of protection between those nightly cleaning sessions.

We have been working these past several weeks to identify ways we can go beyond the old normal to ensure our employees and visitors are as safe and healthy as they can be in the Pinkston office when stay-home orders are lifted. We activated our network of past and present clients, including medical professionals, technologists, futurists, entrepreneurs and others for input and advice. Ultimately we identified four solutions which, when combined, provide holistic, continuous and enduring protection against harmful microbes.

When we welcome employees and guests back, it will be to what we believe is the safest office environment on the planet, and a model for the new normal of office safety and health.

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How We're Doing It

In the News

UV Lighting

The Cleanse® Portal™ archway installed in Pinkston Office

UV lighting has long been known for its disinfectant properties, but most applications are not safe for human exposure due to its negative impacts on skin and eyes. In our search for innovative solutions to keep our employees safe, we came across the Florida-based lighting company Healthe.

Healthe has developed solutions that utilize a wavelength of Far-UVC light, which multiple published studies have determined is effective at killing or deactivating viruses, bacteria and other microbes but is safe for human exposure.

  • A 2018 study by Columbia University researchers published in Scientific Reports called Far-UVC “a promising, safe and inexpensive tool to reduce the spread of airborne-mediated microbial diseases.” They reported that, “due to its strong absorbance in biological materials, far-UVC light cannot penetrate even the outer (non living) layers of human skin or eye; however, because bacteria and viruses are of micrometer or smaller dimensions, far-UVC can penetrate and inactivate them.”

    Dr. David Brenner, a Columbia professor of radiation biophysics and one of the researchers behind the study, said recently that Far-UVC “has the potential to be a ‘game-changer,’” noting that it “can be safely used in occupied public spaces and it kills pathogens in the air before we can breathe them in.”
  • Another study by some of the same Columbia University researchers published in Radiation Research in 2017 concluded that far-UVC “kills bacteria efficiently regardless of their drug-resistant proficiency, but without the skin damaging effects associated with conventional UV exposure.”
  • A study led by by researchers at Kobe University in Japan, published in Photochemistry and Photobiology in March 2020, concluded that, “Our data suggests that 222nm-UVC lamps can be safely used for sterilizing human skin as far as the perspective of skin cancer development.”
  • A study by researchers from Harvard Medical School and Hirosaki University (Japan) published in the Journal of Photochemistry and Photobiology B: Biology in 2018 used Far-UVC to combat staph infection in mice wounds and found that far-UVC was equal to or more effective than UVC but did not have the same negative impacts on surrounding tissue.

Each of these studies independently demonstrates the efficacy and safety of Far-UVC in a broad range of applications. Viewed together, they present a compelling case for its potential to indeed be a game changer, not only in the fight against the novel coronavirus but also in making indoor public places safer against other viral and bacterial threats that we already know or that may emerge in the future.

"Far-UVC light has the potential to be a 'game changer.' ... It can be safely used in occupied public spaces, and it kills pathogens in the air before we can breathe them in."
- Dr. David Brenner, Ph.D., D.Sc., Columbia University professor of radiation biophysics and leading researcher of Far-UVC light.

We have installed three Healthe products that will work on their own and in conjunction with other solutions to clean surfaces and the air:

  • The Cleanse® Portal archway sanitizer requires as little as 20 seconds of exposure to inactivate bacteria and viruses without harm to the exposed human body. It is similar in size and shape to a standard walkthrough metal detector, and can be installed as a free-standing structure and toggled between always-on and motion-activated modes. We have installed a Portal near the elevators, where employees and visitors can use it as they enter or prepare to leave the office.
  • The Cleanse Downlight sanitizer safely and effectively disinfects bacteria and viruses with Far-UVC light that has no impact on human skin or eyes. We have installed Downlights in the kitchen, restrooms and Bistro, where they will replace existing traditional downlights.
  • The Cleanse Air-Sanitizing Troffer uses a multi-stage process, which includes a HEPA-Carbon filtration system followed by an array of UV (A+C), to achieve an additional 99.9% kill rate among airborne pathogens. We have installed an Air-Sanitizing Troffer in the kitchen, replacing the ceiling lights that used to be there.
Cleanse® Portal™ Installation

Titanium Dioxide Surface Coating

Titanium Dioxide Surface Coating

Titanium dioxide (TiO2) is a naturally occurring element that is known for its disinfectant properties when applied to surfaces and activated by light5,6. The TiO2 interacts with light and humidity to create free radicals that attack microbes such as viruses, bacteria and mold, while also reducing Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) in the environment. It is safe for human exposure, and currently in use as an additive in toothpaste, sunscreen and other common consumer products.

Unlike other TiO2 solutions designed for single-surface applications and requiring exposure to UV light, ACT CleanCoat™ is specifically engineered to work on a wide range of hard and soft surfaces, to be activated by visible light7, and to remain active for up to a year. The UV lights we have installed will further amplify its efficacy.

ACT CleanCoat is independently lab-certified to kill microorganisms on treated surfaces (and the air that flows around them), demonstrating a better-than 99.99% reduction in viruses, including the coronavirus family, in under five minutes. Its effectiveness meets European Norm standards for virucidal agents, and ACT CleanCoat meets all requirements to be available on the European market.

We have applied ACT CleanCoat to all permanent surfaces in the office, including floors, walls, desks, chairs, monitors and other high-touch areas.

Electrochemically Activated Water for Daily Cleaning

Electrochemically Activated Water for Daily Cleaning

The ACT ECA System replaces traditional toxic daily cleaning chemicals with an electro-chemically activated saline solution. The activation process produces sodium hydroxide and hypochlorous acid, which act as strong degreasing and disinfecting agents, respectively. ECA formulations work in tandem with CleanCoat to clean and disinfect surfaces in a totally non-toxic manner. It is also used as a hand-sanitizer. Because ACT ECA water is created onsite, it drastically reduces plastic and water usage, as well as the environmental impacts of transporting traditional cleaning agents and adding chemical residuals into the air and water.

In addition to lab and regulatory validation, the combination of ACT CleanCoat and ACT ECA System -- called Premium Purity -- has proven effective in real-world applications in hospitals, hotels, food and beverage preparation, and transportation, where it significantly lowers airborne and surface microbes for up to 12 months.

  • Lindblad Expeditions saw a 50% reduction in gastrointestinal illness on its flagship National Geographic Explorer cruise ship following implementation of Premium Purity, along with eliminating the need for toxic cleaning chemicals and significant reductions in water usage.
  • A major-brand hotel saw dramatic reductions in surface microbes (including on desktops, toilets, showers, bedside tables and door handles) following implementation of Premium Purity. In the case of showers, the microbial load fell from 38 colony forming units (CFU) per cm2 to 0. All tested surfaces remained below the recommended maximum CFU/cm2 threshold for a full 12 months.
  • A hospital in Denmark reported a 97.9% reduction in surface microbes compared to traditional cleaning protocols, and observed 100% reductions in instances of listeria and salmonella. Premium Purity also had a significant effect on air cleanliness, with the hospital reporting a 74.3% reduction in airborne microbes following implementation.

We have installed the ACT ECA System to create ECA water on site in the office (the generator is located in the kitchen), and are working with our cleaning crew to transition from traditional chemical cleaning agents to ECA water in ongoing nightly cleaning routines. While the ECA solution is more powerful than even bleach, it is completely safe and employees will be able to use it for touch-up cleaning and disinfecting during the day as well.

Lindblad Expeditions

Continuous Air Quality Monitoring

As a fourth layer of protection, we have installed advanced Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) sensors capable of monitoring humidity, carbon dioxide and Particulate Matter (PM) levels in the space.

Senseware’s modular Internet of Things (IoT) architecture accelerates the integration of new sensors into a unified cloud platform and can be expanded to deliver sensor-based HVAC controls.

Sensors that can detect the existence of viruses (e.g., COVID-19) and other harmful microbes will be brought online when development completes, enabling us to continuously monitor for airborne threats and other air quality measures.