A safety initiative implemented three years ago has allowed Araneta City to come prepared in responding to the COVID-19 crisis.
In 2017, Araneta City started installing energy-conserving Ultraviolet Germicidal Irradiation (UVGI) modules for air sanitation at the Gateway Mall and Gateway Tower. UVGI, installed in an establishment's air handling unit, uses UV light to kill or inactivate microorganisms that may be harmful to human health. A total of 48 UVGI modules were installed in Gateway Mall and 92 UVGI modules in Gateway Tower for improved indoor air quality to match most commercial establishments.
Araneta City partnered with MSL Global Corporation, a local company that specializes in innovative ventilation solutions focusing on UVGI as its core technology. The company has been promoting ASPIRO UVGI in the Philippines since 2011.
By March 2020, COVID-19 began spreading in the country, compromising health security and daily life operations. While it was initially believed that the virus is spread through close contact, a report by the World Health Organization (WHO) in July confirmed that airborne viral transmission is also possible in indoor settings.
The WHO finding supported the position document of the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) in April, which recommended ventilation-related strategies—which include UVGI —to mitigate the spread of virus indoors.
Araneta City's foresight has played a contributing role in its preparation for scenarios such as the COVID-19 pandemic. As validated by AHRAE's position document, Gateway Mall and Gateway Tower came ready in terms of robust indoor air management. The UVGI initiative program started years ago now complements the City of Firsts' safety guidelines and protocols to keep the Gateway properties safe for shoppers and tenants.
"With the UVGI modules, we now embrace a 'multi-barrier approach' for viral transmission control. Apart from our efforts to educate people with proper hygiene and to put in place government-mandated safety measures, we have also utilized energy-efficient technology as an additional intervention for preventing the spread of virus at Araneta City. Indeed, safety comes first at the City of Firsts," according to Mr. Antonio Mardo, Senior Vice President for Operations.
To keep Araneta City proactive and vigilant in promoting public health and safety, Mr. Mardo added that they are planning to install more UVGI modules in other malls and properties at the City of Firsts soon.