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Filtration Plays Strong Role In Protection

June 24, 2004

Filtration systems play a strong role in combating release of biological agents, particularly anthrax and smallpox, according to speakers at an American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers’ (ASHRAE) satellite broadcast.

More than 20,000 viewers at some 1,000 sites watched the broadcast, which was hosted by the ASHRAE Presidential Ad Hoc Committee on Homeland Security and funded through a grant from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation in New York.

Speakers discussed key issues related to building protection from chemical, biological and radiological attacks.

“Learning how to assess these types of risks is a new and evolving field for those who design and operate buildings,” Lawrence Spielvogel, P.E., chair of the committee, said. “It requires thinking in some different ways than we have been used to.”

William Coad, P.E., Coad Engineering Consulting, St. Louis, Mo., noted there is one step all owners can take to help in protection – recommissioning their HVAC systems. After making sure systems are working as intended, they should develop a plan for steps to take in case of an extraordinary event, such as a biological contamination.

But owners and operators should not forget daily building operation in their search for security, speakers cautioned. “We should not do anything to compromise the day-to-day operation of buildings or the health, welfare or comfort of the people who occupy them,” Spielvogel said.

Speakers noted that an added benefit of making sure systems are working properly is that environmental comfort and ventilation systems will perform better.

More information about ASHRAE’s work in homeland security, including free reports, can be found via ASHRAE webpage. DVDs of the broadcast are available. The cost of the DVD, Homeland Security for Buildings, is $41 ($34 ASHRAE members).

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