Next Greenville Meeting


Program: HVAC and Risk from Airborne Hazard

Interest in protection of building occupants from airborne chemical and biological agents was strongly stimulated by several terrorist incidents early in the 21st century. The discussion generated by these incidents brought to the forefront the concept of formal risk assessment for airborne hazards, which few building designers or owners undertake. Over time, the discussion of HVAC security has declined without significant changes having been made to either design requirements or procedures, yet the issue remains and is more important than is generally acknowledged, since accidental exposures have the potential to be just as harmful as intentional ones. This presentation provides an overview of the key issues relating to protection of building occupants from chemical and biological releases including: HVAC system and building characteristics that affect exposure, the spectrum of available countermeasures and their characteristics, risk assessment processes, and metrics for describing the level of risk and degree of improvement achieved by a risk reduction strategy.


William P. Bahnfleth, Ph.D., P.E.

William Bahnfleth is Professor and Director of the Indoor Environment Center in the Department of Architectural Engineering at the Pennsylvania State University (Penn State) in University Park, PA, where he has been employed since 1994. Previously, he was a Senior Consultant for ZBA, Inc. in Cincinnati, OH and a Principal Investigator at the U.S. Army Construction Engineering Research Laboratory in Champaign, IL. He holds BS, MS, and PhD degrees in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Illinois, where he also earned an undergraduate degree in music (pipe organ performance), and is a registered professional engineer.

At Penn State, Dr. Bahnfleth teaches undergraduate courses in HVAC fundamentals and controls and graduate courses in chilled water systems, hot water and steam systems, and indoor air quality. His research interests cover a wide variety of indoor environmental control topics, including chilled water pumping systems, stratified thermal energy storage, protection of building occupants from indoor bioaerosol releases, ultraviolet germicidal irradiation systems, and others. He is the author or co-author of more than 150 technical papers and 13 books and book chapters. He consults on the design of chilled water thermal energy storage systems and has been involved in more than 20 projects world-wide.

Dr. Bahnfleth is a fellow of ASHRAE, the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) and the International Society for Indoor Air Quality and Climate (ISIAQ). He is a member of the Indoor Air Quality Association (IAQA), the International Building Performance Simulation Association (IBPSA), Sigma Xi, the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE), and the Society of Building Science Educators (SBSE). He has served ASHRAE in a variety of capacities, including Student Branch Advisor, Chapter Governor, Technical Committee and Standing Committee Chair, and as Director-at-Large, Vice President, Treasurer, and 2013-14 Society President. He is the recipient of a 1st place ASHRAE Technology Award, Transactions Paper Award, and Distinguished Service and Exceptional Service Awards. In 2016, he received the Penn State Engineering Alumni Society’s World-Class Engineering Faculty Award.


Each program qualifies for 1.0 PDH

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