The New York Islanders will live in the UBS Arena.
Source: New York Islanders / UBS Arena
The New York Islanders hockey team is hoping that the new air filter technology will clear viruses from the air in the new UBS Arena, which is slated to open in November 2021.
Tim Leiweke, CEO of arena development company Oak View Group, told CNBC that the building will contain air purification technology in four corners of the arena, which house huge HVAC systems. The company plans to spend $ 2 million and works with ME Engineering for systems and architecture firm Populous.
"The long-term solution will be medicine, treatment and vaccine," added Leiweke. "But it will also be cleaner, smarter air. So in an indoor space we think: How do we create cleaner, fresher air?"
The technician circulates air and zaps viruses with high-intensity UV lighting to purify the air before it is pumped back into the breathing spaces.
According to Leiweke, similar systems are used in smaller rooms like locker rooms across the National Football League and in hospitals.
"The problem is: How do you get it into an 850,000 square meter arena and get it to work? And we're working on that," said Leiweke. "These are the things our task force – ME Engineering and Populous – is working on right now. How can we create the building of the future that is more health and wellness driven?"
"What we didn't find out is what does the beast cost and how do you build it?"
Since the beginning of the pandemic, sports teams have been looking for virus-fighting solutions, including air purifiers, as indoor leagues hope to attract viewers again for the 2020-21 season.
The University of Houston designed air filters to trap and kill viruses, including SARS-CoV-2, which causes COVID-19. The filter uses a unique heated nickel foam material that helps destroy viruses.
Climate Pledge Arena rendering
As demand grows due to the pandemic, the HVAC filter market is projected to be a $ 7.1 billion market by 2025, compared to its current value of $ 5.5 billion.
The pandemic has delayed construction of the Elmont plant and postponed the planned debut by two months in 2021. The UBS Arena is expected to be ready in time for the National Hockey League's 2021-22 season.
Leiweke said OVG, which is also developing the Seattle Kraken's home, the Climate Pledge Arena, will also try to eliminate numerous "touch points" in buildings. For example, the company would like to examine antimicrobial door handles and develop more "grab and go" concepts at concession stands using cashless systems.
"Some of that will be there when we open both Seattle and New York," added Leiweke. "The future of these buildings will not be certified in the league. Sustainability, hygiene and safety diversity will be certified. We are now spending money to be one step ahead, because the people in your building take care of that."