In all, more than 1,600 copper patches will be installed across SFU's three campuses.

SFU and Teck bring antimicrobial copper patches to high-touch campus surfaces

September 16, 2021

This story was first published on SFU News.

By Jeff Hodson

As the students, faculty and staff return to campus this fall, they might notice that doors and other high-touch surfaces are flaunting a new back-to-school look—in the form of hundreds of antimicrobial copper patches on doors and railings to add an extra layer of protection against germs.

Working in partnership with Teck Resources, which generously provided funding, more than 1,600 copper patches are being installed across the Surrey, Burnaby and Vancouver campuses as well as the residence buildings on Burnaby campus. Due to the antimicrobial properties of copper, the patches continuously kill 99.9 per cent of surface bacteria.

“As we welcome our students, faculty, and staff to SFU this fall, creating a safe place for everyone to learn and work remains our top priority,” says Larry Waddell, SFU’s chief facilities officer. “In addition to the measures we have in place, we are very pleased that our partnership with Teck to install antimicrobial copper on high touch surfaces can provide another layer of protection for our community.”

Teck’s Copper & Health program worked closely with university staff to identify the installation points and marketing tactics to engage students.

“We are proud to partner with SFU on this initiative as part of our work to expand the use of antimicrobial copper in high-traffic public spaces,” says Don Lindsay, president and CEO of Teck Resources. “Students, staff and our communities are now safer thanks to the leadership of SFU to install these copper surfaces throughout their facilities.”

Teck has already funded similar projects to install copper surface patches in a number of healthcare facilities, including Vancouver General Hospital and Lion’s Gate Hospital as well as BCIT.

A five-week pilot project with TransLink in late 2020 saw the patches installed on two high-ridership buses and two SkyTrain cars. The pilot project showed that the copper products are durable and kill up to 99 per cent of bacteria within one hour of the bacteria’s contact with the surface.

Teck’s Copper Clean™ Antimicrobial Surface Patches, manufactured by Canadian company Coptek Copper Covers, are self-sanitizing adhesive copper covers that are applied over high-touch surfaces like door handles, bathroom push plates and elevator buttons to kill surface-borne bacteria, such as E. Coli and MRSA. They are a copper alloy, which means that while they’re antimicrobial, they are more durable and won’t tarnish like pure copper.