Supermarkets to stables: the versatility of UV-C disinfection


    September 21, 2021


    If there’s one thing this pandemic has taught us, it’s the importance of minimizing the threat of harmful pathogens – no matter where we are or what we’re doing. The following case studies illustrate the flexibility of UV-C disinfection upper air luminaires to do this with people and animals present in the room.


    UV-C light is a powerful disinfectant with an impressive track record in breaking down the DNA and RNA of viruses and bacteria1. Research conducted at the National Emerging Infectious Diseases Laboratories (NEIDL) at Boston University proved the effectiveness of Signify’s UV-C light sources in inactivating SARS-CoV-2, the virus causing COVID-19, on surfaces2.  Further research by NEIDL into their effectiveness revealed that the UK Kent and South African variants of the virus were also susceptible to inactivation by UV-C light. This bodes well for hopes that it will effectively inactivate future variants of the virus.


    Furthermore, recent research by Innovative Bioanalysis also proved the efficacy or Philips UV-C disinfection upper air luminaires. It revealed that they inactivated 99.99% of SARS-CoV-2 virus in the air of a room within 10 minutes, while at 20 minutes, the virus was below detectable levels3.


    UV-C disinfection upper air luminaires can unobtrusively disinfect the air of a room while people are present. This makes it ideally suitable to help combat all manner of airborne viruses and spores. Given that the SARS-CoV-2 virus is largely transmitted through aerosols, such upper air luminaires have found favor in applications as diverse as disinfecting the air in the changing rooms of top flight football clubs to helping to protect theater goers by disinfecting the air in theaters. Indeed, the range of applications for UV-C disinfection seems to grow weekly. Here are some recent examples.


    UV-C in the saddle


    The United Kingdom is arguably the global center of equine breeding. The Bourne Hill Stables in Sussex is home to some of the best thoroughbred horses in the competitive field. As such, it’s crucial to keep the horses healthy and ready to compete. This is where additional risk mitigation measures against viruses and bacteria come in. When a disease risk arises, such as the outbreak of the neurological form of equine virus (EHV-1) or equine flu, horses must go into isolation and can no longer compete until a negative test is provided, hence the need for preventative measures to stop contagion.

    It’s crucial to keep the horses healthy and ready to compete. This is where the additional risk mitigation measures against viruses and bacteria come in”

    Bourne Hill Stables appointed Signify UV-C partner, Powercor, to install 22 Philips UV-C disinfection upper air wall-mounted units to provide an additional layer of disinfection, over and above traditional chemical disinfection.


    The wall-mounted devices used at the stables create a controlled UV-C zone in the upper part of the stable’s corridor, continuously disinfecting the air that passes through them. The layout, height and design of the UV-C system installation was conceived in a way to ensure that neither the animals, nor the staff underneath the devices would be exposed to UV-C light4. This way, both the horses and the staff benefit from air disinfection and can go about their day-to-day activities at the stables.

    UV-C from Supermarkets to Stables

    Helping to make waiting rooms safer


    Minimizing the risks pathogens pose is important everywhere, but it is absolutely crucial to aim for the safest possible environment in the waiting rooms of hospitals and medical centers. Forester University Hospital equipped its public access areas with Philips UV-C disinfection upper air luminaires to help provide an extra layer of protection for visitors. These luminaires, installed in the hospital’s lobbies, waiting halls and reception areas, provide continuous air disinfection, that helps to keep employees, patients and visitors better protected. Such luminaries are ideal for indoor areas with high density footfall. The hospital also uses surface disinfection lighting in other public areas when people are absent.

    Forester University Hospital
    Forester University Hospital, Beijing

    Shopping without a care


    When it comes to air disinfection, we need early adopters as much as innovators. One early adopter was EDEKA, which pioneered the use of UV-C technology in one of its supermarkets in Hamburg, Germany, to help disinfect the air that its customers and employees breathe. In November 2020, 31 Philips UV-C upper air disinfection luminaires were installed in EDEKA’s Alter Güterbahnhof store, which also participated in a study to test the effectiveness of the luminaires.

    A reduction in airborne spores were observed up to 50% at the checkout”


    Undertaken by the Fraunhofer Institute over a five-week period, the tests revealed that the luminaires significantly inactivated spores in the air during times with highest footfall in the store – on weekdays around 6 pm. At this time a reduction in airborne fungal spores was observed of up to 50% at the checkout and up to 46% in the aisles of the store. Furthermore, according to the Institute’s analytical model, Fraunhofer estimated that 99.99% of the SARS-CoV-2 virus could be inactivated by the UV-C disinfection upper air luminaires. On the basis of the test data and analytical model, it expects that applying UV-C disinfection could contribute to a reduction of R values and the risk of infections5.


    Employees and customers can feel peace of mind when returning to the aisles, trusting the proven effectiveness of the UV-C disinfection upper air luminaires improving the air quality above them.


    The pandemic has opened our eyes. It has given us an appreciation of the need to disinfect the air in public indoor spaces – be it in waiting rooms, gyms, theaters, retail stores, offices, in fact anywhere indoors where people congregate or pass through. UV-C disinfection upper air technology offers a convenient, unobtrusive and cost-effective way to do this, enabling us all to breathe a sigh of relief.

    Nadia Storm et al., Rapid and complete inactivation of SARS-CoV-2 by ultraviolet-C irradiation, 2020. The UV-C irradiance used in this study was 0.849 mW/cm2.


    3 According to results obtained from a laboratory test conducted by Innovative Bioanalysis 2021, a CAP, CLIA, AABB Certified Safety Reference Laboratory, in a room with sufficient air circulation. 

    4 As UV-C light is a powerful disinfectant, it is important that people, animals, and plants are not directly exposed to the light source as it can harm their skin and eyes and can damage the leaves of plants.
    5 Helen Onyema (Fraunhofer IMM) and Wolfgang Hofbauer (Fraunhofer IBP), Study on the evaluation of the efficiency of UV-C radiation as an air disinfectant during operating hours in a supermarket, 2021.

    About the author:

    Marton Kottmayer

    Marton Kottmayer

    External Communications Intern

    Fanni Kovacs

    Fanni Kovacs

    External Communications Intern

    For further information, please contact:

    Signify Global Integrated Communications
    Neil Pattie
    Tel: + 31 6 15 08 48 17
    For commercial enquiries:

    About Signify


    Signify (Euronext: LIGHT) is the world leader in lighting for professionals and consumers and lighting for the Internet of Things. Our Philips products, Interact connected lighting systems and data-enabled services, deliver business value and transform life in homes, buildings and public spaces. In 2022, we had sales of EUR 7.5 billion, approximately 35,000 employees and a presence in over 70 countries. We unlock the extraordinary potential of light for brighter lives and a better world. We achieved carbon neutrality in our operations in 2020, have been in the Dow Jones Sustainability World Index since our IPO for six consecutive years and were named Industry Leader in 2017, 2018 and 2019. News from Signify is located at the Newsroom, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram. Information for investors can be found on the Investor Relations page.

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