In an ASHRAE-sponsored public session held at the AHR Expo on January 22, 2008, attendees were presented the kind of knowledge that can save lives. HVAC Design for Security and Sustainability focused on preventing and dealing with attacks involving chemical and/or biological agents (CBA), and provided attendees with information that with any luck, they’ll never need. However, as the presenters said, the time to plan for such a catastrophic event is certainly not after the event has occurred.
Offering practical tips on what
precautions can be taken, along with plenty of resources, this session
explained what CBAs are, possible scenarios of their release, how they may be
detected, how buildings may be “immunized” against such threats, and more.
Moderated by Harmohinder Singh, Ph.D.,
North Carolina A & T State University, Greensboro, NC, the session was
broken down into four sessions:
“Emergency Planning and Response: State, Local,
Facility and HVAC Level,” presented by Leroy Mickelsen, P.E., U.S. EPA,
Washington. Mickelsen provided details on the support systems in place to plan
for and respond to such events, and encouraged building professionals to have a
written plan, make contact with and get involved with their local support
systems, including their Local Emergency Planning Committee (http://yosemite.epa.gov/oswer/lepcdb.nsf/SearchForm?OpenForm).
“CB Protection of Facilities,” presented by Dale
Herron, U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center, Champaign, IL.
Herron provided an overview of CBAs and detailed results that were obtained via
trials on a sample building last year. Using many different scenarios, the
trials revealed that preventive measures (such as protecting air intakes, etc.)
are essential and that when facing a CBA event, HVAC systems don’t typically
operate as designed. Dedicated systems for mail rooms and dock areas, fully
filtered dedicated outdoor air systems and high MERV filters were among other
“Remediation of Anthrax Contaminated Buildings,”
presented by Neil Norrell, U.S. EPA, Washington, DC. This session delved into
two recent Anthrax events that occurred in the last couple years (both events
resulted from the substance being transmitted by hides used for making African
drums) and the extensive remediation efforts that ensued.
“HVAC System Design and Operating Issues for
Chemical and Biological Attack,” presented by James Jones, Ph.D., Virginia
Polytechnic Institute of Technology, Blacksburg, VA. This session provided some
hands on real-life tips on how design and operation can prevent or at least
mitigate CBA attacks.
Attendees received two New York-approved
PDHs, and the presenters hoped they left better prepared to plan for and
prevent CBA events at their facilities. As Herron said in response to a request
for a list of books and resources on CBA protection, reading all the books and
documents you can find on the subject won’t help you sleep better at night, but
at least if you’ve planned and done everything you can, you might rest a bit