Critical environment control for a very critical mission, the controls operation of a BSL-3 rated laboratory.
The Center for Disease Control (CDC) is one of the government departments tasked with setting the guidelines for how a lab actively employing testing on biological contaminants must operate to maintain levels of safety for the occupants and the surrounding environment. They have developed a certification described as the Biological Safety Level (BSL), with levels ranging from 1 to 4. Interactive Building Solutions has been actively engaged in the certification of a BSL level 3 lab; a lab designed to teach, produce, or conduct research on or with dangerous airborne diseases which can be fatal if inhaled by humans or animals.
To ensure these labs meet the BSL-3 criteria, stringent airflow and temperature specifications are adhered to for both normal, everyday conditions, as well as abnormal, failure mode conditions. Under failure conditions, the HVAC system must not only operate to maintain safety to the occupants and allow for evacuation or containment, it must also maintain integrity to personnel outside the lab.
Under the requirements for the BSL-3 test, labs must maintain tight space temperature control, with minimal fluctuations, and a very stringent pressure requirement to ensure there is no exfiltration of laboratory air to the outside spaces. Interactive Building Solutions has continued to maintain these requirements for Northwestern University through careful design, testing, programming, and recertification of the lab.