Report Explores Building Retrofit Options to Improve Protection Against Airborne Hazards

A new report from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and the EPA offers building owners and managers information on retrofit options to improve the safety of buildings against airborne chemical and biological hazards. The new guide can be used to determine whether or not -- and how -- to harden existing buildings against accidental chemical releases or possible terrorist threats.

NIST researchers evaluated 14 alternative retrofit techniques based on data from simulated airflow and contaminant transport computer modeling as well as a case study in which retrofits were designed for a high-rise and single story building. In conjunction with the report, NIST also developed a life-cycle cost analysis tool for chemical and biological protection of buildings that helps building owners and managers to compare life-cycle costs of installation, operation and maintenance to determine the most cost-effective combination of retrofit options for their structure.

Retrofit options considered include enhanced particle filtration, sorbent-based gaseous air cleaning, ultraviolet germicidal irradiation, photocatalytic oxidative air cleaning, work area air capture and filtration equipment such as mail handling tables, ventilation system recommissioning, building envelope air-tightening, building pressurization, relocation of outdoor air intakes, shelter-in-place, isolation of vulnerable spaces such as lobbies, system shutdown and purge cycles, and automated heating, ventilating and air-conditioning (HVAC) operational changes in response to contaminant sensing.

Potential advantages, disadvantages and knowledge gaps are discussed for each technology. For example, the researchers note that filtration and air cleaning options have the advantage of being always in operation. However, as the report notes, their disadvantage is a current lack of standards for testing and rating gaseous air cleaning systems and other air cleaning approaches. The study also notes the potential for increased energy efficiency and improved indoor air quality results from various retrofit options, which could play a role in life-cycle cost comparisons of different strategies.

The analysis of retrofit strategies useful against chemical and biological building contamination and the development of software tools to select cost-effective ways to mitigate the hazards were performed under an inter-agency agreement with EPA's National Homeland Security Research Center, Decontamination and Consequence Management Division.

The new NIST/ EPA report, Building Retrofits for Increased Protection Against Airborne Chemical and Biological Releases (NISTIR 7379/EPA/600/R-06/157), is available in PDF format at http://fire.nist.gov/bfrlpubs/build07/PDF/b07006.pdf and http://www.epa.gov/nhsrc. The Life-Cycle Cost Analysis Tool (EPA/600/C-06/016) is available at http://www2.bfrl.nist.gov/software/LCCchembio/index.htm and http://www.epa.gov/nhsrc. A primer on the software is included in an appendix to NISTIR 7379/EPA/600/R-06/157.

Download Center

HTML - No Current Item Deck
  • Safety Management Software - Free Demo

    IndustrySafe Safety Software’s comprehensive suite of modules help organizations to record and manage incidents, inspections, hazards, behavior based safety observations, and much more. Improve safety with an easy to use tool for tracking, notifying and reporting on key safety data.

  • Create Flexible Safety Dashboards

    IndustrySafe’s Dashboard Module allows organizations allows you to easily create and view safety KPIs to help you make informed business decisions. Our best of breed default indicators can also save you valuable time and effort in monitoring safety metrics.

  • Schedule and Record Observations

    IndustrySafe's Observations module allows managers, supervisors, and employees to conduct observations on employees involved in safety critical behavior. IndustrySafe’s pre-built BBS checklists may be used as is, or can be customized to better suit the needs of your organization.

  • Why Is Near Miss Reporting Important?

    A near miss is an accident that's waiting to happen. Learn how to investigate these close calls and prevent more serious incidents from occurring in the future.

  • Get the Ultimate Guide to Safety Training

    When it comes to safety training, no matter the industry, there are always questions regarding requirements and certifications. We’ve put together a guide on key safety training topics, requirements for certifications, and answers to common FAQs.

  • Industry Safe
comments powered by Disqus

OH&S Digital Edition

  • OHS Magazine Digital Edition - May 2019

    May 2019

    Featuring:

    • RESPIRATORY PROTECTION
      Why Pick a PAPR? 
    • FIRE SAFETY TRAINING
      Fire Safety: Plan, Prevent, Train, Recover
    • PROTECTIVE APPAREL
      The Truth About Heat Stress and FRC
    • AIHCE EXP 2019 PREVIEW
      Underestimated No More
    View This Issue