Antimicrobial Properties and How They're Useful in Hospitality, Health, Retail, and Restaurants

Antimicrobial surfaces might sound far-fetched, but they are more important to facilities management than ever. Unfortunately, confusion remains rampant. In fact, conducting a nationwide rollout of renovations to leverage coatings with antimicrobial properties can save much more than just the health of building occupants. So, facilities managers need to understand a few things about what antimicrobial properties really mean and how they are diversely used across different facilities. 

Driving Forces of Adoption of Assets With Antimicrobial Properties

The need to improve building occupants’ health has never been greater. As people return to work and shopping, they remain skeptical of the janitorial services provided. Even when everything looks fine, there is no real way to know how clean a surface is. Furthermore, the spread of new illnesses in the world has created a need to preempt possible contamination, resulting in a greater adoption of antimicrobial coatings that can be applied to multiple surfaces. According to Buildings.com, antimicrobial properties of certain coating can dramatically improve the health of your building occupants and reduce deterioration of facility assets. Furthermore, they have a wide range of uses across multiple industries:

“These coatings offer proven protection from microbial attachment by controlling the growth of unwanted organisms, including bacteria, mold, and fungi. The coatings are segmented by different alloys that include silver, copper, zinc oxide, titanium dioxide, and zinc omadine – each with a different application. By minimizing the presence of bacteria on surfaces, antimicrobial coatings are growing in popularity as a requirement for promoting greater health and wellness in public environments.”

Antimicrobial Asset Surfaces Reduce Risk to Building Occupants

Depending on the surface in question, antimicrobial properties’ coatings can be applied to any non-porous surface. These materials are already widely used in HVAC systems and standard wall insulation—reducing the risk mildew and mold growth. However, their added use across all facility surfaces, ranging from floors to bathroom fixtures, can go a long way in reducing risk to building occupants. Furthermore, the ability to coat surfaces proactively reduces the chances of pathogens surviving on the surface for an extended period. Since healthier guest environments amount to more customers, the increased use of surfaces with antimicrobial properties will naturally increase profitability. But another benefit exists.

“Building managers, medical facilities, and public institutions stand to save a significant amount of money by reducing maintenance costs related to the cleaning and replacement of unsanitary objects. Anything that requires maintenance or sanitary upkeep has the potential to be coated with antimicrobial materials, therefore reducing labor and supply costs.”

In a sense, antimicrobial surfaces are a form of preventive maintenance—reducing the risk of spreading pathogens within the facility. Obviously, creating a germ-inhibitive surface is great, but there are other opportunities to improve occupant health across the hospitality, retail, health, and restaurant landscapes. 

Additional Factors to Consider When Creating a Safer, Healthier Facility

Facility managers should consider these additional factors in creating safer, healthier facilities:

  • Remember the HVAC system and its role in air purification and ventilation.
  • Think about the surfaces people need to contact for safety, such as handrails.
  • Avoid unnecessary contact between staff and people where possible.
  • Schedule maintenance during vacancy hours to reduce occupant density and person-to-person exposure. 
  • Reduce use of harsh cleaners and disinfectants—except for the instances where such cleaners are recommended by the CDC to clean surfaces.
  • Work with your guests to encourage healthy behaviors upon entering the facility, such as placing hand sanitizer stations at entrances and maintaining appropriate signage.

Put the Power of Antimicrobial Surfaces to Work in Your Facility During Your Next Remodel

Significant uncertainty is a business problem, but the short-term solution to all worries involving public health is maintaining adherence with all regulations and proactively reducing the risk of spreading illnesses in your facilities. Antimicrobial properties within modern coatings are not just a must-have; they are a necessity for reopening businesses and keeping people healthy. If your organization would like to take part in this initiative, consider using coatings with antimicrobial properties during the next remodel or reconstruction project in your facilities.

J Glasglow, MCR

J Glasglow, MCR

As Senior Vice President of Solutions Development for Cushman & Wakefield Global Occupier Services, J Glasgow partners with corporate occupiers of real estate to develop integrated real estate, facility, project and operational management programs designed to improve processes, manage risk while significantly reducing total cost of occupancy. J’s background includes more than 20 years of experience in diverse commercial and corporate real estate disciplines such as, account leadership, and management, facility and operational planning, project management and strategic portfolio optimization. J has advised global clients from a broad range of market sectors encompassing financial, insurance, healthcare, bio-science, engineering, and consumer goods companies that encompass, office, industrial and manufacturing portfolios. With a diverse background in corporate real estate planning, facility management and project management, J has leveraged savings for his clients of over $313 million dollars while aligning with their overall business strategy and mission.