Using Light to Inactivate Viruses - Including COVID-19

counterfeit circuit breakers

Germicidal Ultra Violet (GUV) lighting fixtures eliminate pathogens and inactivate bacteria and viruses to keep spaces safe and healthy

As we return to work, life, and a new sense of normalcy, we’re all looking for out-of-the-box approaches to stop the spread of bacteria and viruses.

Germicidal UV (GUV) lighting fixtures are gaining popularity when it comes to inactivating the COVID-19 virus and disinfecting spaces and surfaces.

Ultraviolet light is a type of electromagnetic radiation. Based on wavelength rate, there are three types of UV radiation: UVA (315-400 nanometers), UVB (280-315 nanometers), and UVC (100-280 nanometers). Current product offerings are targeting GUV light which falls within the UVC band. The first commercial UVC germicidal lamps were developed during the 1930s and were used primarily in hospitals.

At 254 nanometers, GUV appears to hit the sweet spot: It eliminates pathogens and inactivates the DNA of bacteria and viruses – including COVID-19 – so they can’t reproduce.


Here are four things you need to know about GUV fixtures ….

1. They Work Quickly

When designed and implemented correctly, GUV fixtures act fast. It doesn’t take hours for GUV light to inactivate viruses – it takes minutes. Depending on ceiling height and the size of the space, a typical office area can be treated in 15 minutes. (A recent Boston University study shows that, after only seconds of exposure, the virus is no longer detected.)

2. They Can Function As An Integrated System

Germicidal UVC can damage the DNA in skin cells directly, and are the main rays that cause sunburns. They are also thought to cause most skin cancers. UVC rays have more energy than the other types of UV rays. Exposure should be minimized to eliminate possible eye and skin irritation.

fail safe glr uv highbay

By integrating GUV fixtures with manual controls, it will ensure that people don’t re-enter until treatment is complete.

3. They Don’t Replace Traditional Fixtures

GUV fixtures don’t illuminate a space, so they won’t replace traditional lighting. Instead, they are installed next to existing fixtures – or wherever disinfecting needs to happen.

4. They Don’t Replace Regular Cleaning

While GUV fixtures are surface disinfectants, they don’t clean dirt or penetrate through layers of dust. For this reason, GUV light is typically used as a complement to regular cleaning and disinfection.

Planning Your GUV Lighting Project

Van Meter has a devoted team of lighting specialists who will help you determine correct intensity levels and exposure time for proper disinfection. We partner with the leader in GUV lighting – Cooper Lighting Solutions – to make sure you get safe, tried-and-true solutions.

After we’ve finalized our calculations, we select the right fixtures and create layouts. And we’re always here if you have questions, concerns, or ideas about applying GUV fixtures in a new way. Want to learn more? I’m happy to share what we know about GUV light! Give me a call at 563-349-7308.

Request For Quote

tim gebel van meter



Gebel joined Van Meter in 2018 and has spent over 30 years in the lighting industry.