In March a joint CIBSE/ASHRAE event on Sustainability and Smoke Control was held in London by John H. Klote, known throughout the world as an expert on smoke control. Here are his top nine takeaways from the event:
1. By their nature, fire protection and smoke control systems are sustainable in that they minimize the damage to materials and the environment resulting from unwanted fires.
2. Sustainable smoke control systems can be used in place of code mandated systems, and sustainable smoke control systems are limited only by the ingenuity, creativity, and knowledge of the design team.
3. It is essential that alternate systems provide at least equivalent protection to code mandated systems.
4. There are many sources of information about smoke control technology, and the 2012 ASHRAE publication Handbook of Smoke Control Engineering* is intended to be the most extensive source of technical information about smoke control and related technology.
5. Classifications of smoke control systems are (1) conventional systems and (2) tenability systems. The goal of a conventional system is to keep smoke away from occupants during fire evacuation (or relocation). The goal of a tenability system is to maintain a tenable environment during fire evacuation (or relocation).
6. A tenable environment is one in which smoke and heat are limited such that exposure is not life threatening. Analysis of tenability systems includes calculations of smoke transport, tenability and evacuation.
7. Alternative systems to smoke exhaust in atria and other large spaces are (1) natural smoke venting and (2) smoke filling. Natural smoke venting eliminates all mechanical fans. Smoke filling is only applicable to very large and tall spaces, and it eliminates all smoke control equipment. It is recommended that both of these systems be designed as tenability systems using computational fluid dynamics (CFD) for smoke transport calculations.
8. Pressurization smoke control systems can be made more sustainable by tightening construction which results in reduced fan sizes.
9. Sustainable alternatives to pressurization smoke control are possible, and an example of a new concept that could be an alternate to stairwell pressurization is stairwell ventilation which is discussed in the Handbook of Smoke Control Engineering. It is suggested that stairwell ventilation systems be designed as tenability systems using both CFD and network modelling for smoke transport calculations.
The slides are at http://www.cibseashrae.org/presentations/Klote130313.pdf.
* The 2012 ASHRAE publication Handbook of Smoke Control Engineering is the most complete source of technical information about smoke control and related topics. It is published by ASHRAE as a hardcover book and in PDF format. ASHRAE has a special member price:
The handbook is co-published by SFPE, ICC, and NFPA which also have special member prices.
Conor Logan is a Technical Manager of Colt UK, Smoke and Climate Control Division. Conor designs innovative smoke control and HVAC systems and is also Chairman of the Smoke Control Association.