By Leigh Ann Hubbard

This is Part 2 in our healthy-building series. Read Part 1, “4 Things That Make a Healthy Building”, here.

After the pandemic started, you got your surface sanitizing down pat. Germs were no match for your disinfecting agents. Then we learned that COVID-19 spreads mainly through the airNow what? Bleach before you breathe?

Well . . . sort of.

 Have you heard of needlepoint bipolar ionization, or NBPI? It’s the healthy-building buzzword on the senior living street. It’s purported to strip viruses from the air, and many communities are investing in it. But is it worth it?

We got the lowdown from Rob Swiers, Lumenant’s healthy-air expert. (Lumenant, a Senior Living Foresight partner, specializes in healthy-building solutions for senior living.)

Rob says that if you’re looking to make an investment in your residents’ well-being and longevity this year, NBPI is a great place to start. Not only does the technology have potential health benefits, but investing in a healthy building can give you a competitive edge, both now and in the future.

What Is Needlepoint Bipolar Ionization?

NBPI makes air cleaner by sending out charged ions. “The ions interact with mold spores, bacteria, viruses, and other organic compounds, causing these airborne contaminants to clump together,” Rob says. “They’re usually then filtered out by the building’s filtration system.”

In addition, the technology can deactivate viral particles. “If a virus doesn’t have a way to transmit information, it does not work,” Rob says. “It’s just a big ball of RNA. So if you throw a bunch of charged ions at it and start breaking down that surface membrane, it loses function.”

NBPI doubles as an odor controller as well. And, of course, many illnesses besides COVID-19 — including the flu — spread through the air. “NBPI is a solution that will continue to be beneficial to your residents, your employees, and your bottom line. Even after the pandemic is over,” Rob points out.

Is Needlepoint Bipolar Ionization Right for Your Community?

Researchers are investigating other air cleaning technologies alongside NBPI — namely photocatalytic oxidation and UV bulbs. Rob has looked into all the leading options, evaluating what will work best in senior living.

He recommends needlepoint bipolar ionization in most cases. “NBPI has very little maintenance, it can be retrofit into existing HVAC equipment, it’s cost-effective, and it’s infinitely scalable.”

Lumenant has installed NBPI in a number of buildings. There are options for different types of air systems—VTACs, PTACs, and central HVAC systems. Lumenant can install the tech for the whole building or only in common areas or isolation wings.

As director of support services at Lumenant, Rob directs the installations. His crews are specially trained in senior living protocols. They’re extremely focused on safety and getting in and out quickly.

If NBPI sounds interesting to you, Lumenant is the company you want to talk to. Rob and the team are passionate about finding the right healthy-building solutions for senior living communities. They’re happy to answer your questions and to help your community thrive in an era where infection prevention is at the forefront of everyone’s minds. Click here to ask your first question, or to schedule a free consultation.

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