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
  • Free Safety Management Software Demo

    IndustrySafe Safety Management Software helps organizations to improve safety by providing a comprehensive toolset of software modules to help businesses identify trouble spots; reduce claims, lost days, OSHA fines; and more.

  • Complete Online Safety Training Courses

    Deliver state-of-the art, online safety training courses to your organization with IndustrySafe Training Management Software. Generate reports to track training compliance and automatically notify learners of upcoming or overdue classes.

  • Easy to Use Safety Inspection App

    Conduct inspections on the go with IndustrySafe’s mobile app. Complete safety audits at job sites and remote locations—with or without web access.

  • Track Key Safety Performance Indicators

    IndustrySafe’s Dashboard Module allows organizations to easily track safety KPIs and metrics. Gain increased visibility into your business’ operations and safety data.

  • Analyze Incident Data and Maintain OSHA Compliance

    Collect relevant incident data, analyze trends, and generate accurate regulatory reports, including OSHA 300, 300A, and 301 logs, through IndustrySafe’s extensive incident reporting and investigation module.

  • Industry Safe
comments powered by Disqus