Image via Kone

With people slowly returning to public spaces, stakeholders behind our built environment are addressing hygiene concerns brought about by the pandemic with sanitizing solutions such as industrial-grade sanitation robots, elevator air purifiers, and hospital disinfection pods.  

In Laguna, sanitation robots are being deployed inside an automotive manufacturing facility to clean the air and surfaces. The Keno UV-C robot, according to its manufacturer Robotic Activation Inc., uses ultraviolet radiation to kill pathogens. 

The industrial-grade robot was previously used to disinfect Baguio City’s Sto. Niño Hospital in September 2020. 

Meanwhile, KPI Elevators, Inc. (Kone Philippines) offers solutions such as elevator air purifiers and self-disinfecting handrails to keep people safe in buildings. 

“These can play a key role in helping people return to the office, knowing that both the public and private sectors are committed to keeping them safe,” said Markus O. Nisula, managing director of Kone Philippines.  

“Sustainability-focused advances in vertical transportation such as elevators and escalators will help cities like Manila increase resource efficiencies.”  

The Kone Elevator AirPurifier helps improve air quality within elevators and reduce pollutants, germs, and odors; and the Kone Handrail Sanitizer for escalators has a chemical-free cleaning solution that uses ultraviolet rays to reduce pollutants and germs. DX Class Elevators, meanwhile, use non-toxic, anti-stain, and anti-fingerprint materials that decrease the need for maintenance and cleaning.   

In hospitals, disinfection cubicles developed by Filipino researchers at the University of the Philippines Manila’s College of Medicine sanitize frontliners as they exit COVID-19 patient wards. Called SaniPods, these self-containing cubicles are similar to air showers and provide an extra layer of protection to the personal protective equipment already worn by the frontliners. 

The first prototype was deployed at the Philippine General Hospital for evaluation of its effectiveness and utility. — P. B. M. 


The pandemic highlighted the need to focus on people’s health and well-being, including in aspects of mobility. Harvard T.H. Chan’s School of Public Health gave tips on how individuals can practice elevator etiquette this time of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19): 

  • Wear a mask. 
  • Load the elevator in a checkerboard (or alternate) pattern. 
  • Have the person near the buttons select the floor for everyone, using their knuckles. 
  • No conversations. 

Employers can additionally stagger employees’ arrival and departure times to minimize the risk of exposure.  

“Workers want to know whether they can really be safe in an elevator, and building owners want to know whether they get elevator capacity to more than one person at a time,” said Joseph G. Allen, assistant professor of exposure assessment science at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. “Fortunately, the answer to both is, ‘Yes.’” — P. B. M.