Carbon dioxide is a colorless, and odorless gas. It is produced by burning organic compounds or breathing organisms. Carbon dioxide represents 04% of our atmosphere. Plants absorb the gas during photosynthesis. Gaseous Carbon Dioxide is 1.5 times heavier than air. If we breathe high levels of CO2 the gas is poisonous, and can be fatal by suffering from anoxia or asphyxiation. However, small amounts of the gas are harmless and often mixed with beverages to create bubbly carbonated soft drinks.
The Divisions of Fire Safety and Codes and Standards has found incidents involving injuries and even death due to Carbon Dioxide poisoning. Due to these incidents several states like New Jersey and Arizona have elected to incorporate building codes to prevent this from happening. The precautions have also gained the attention of the International Code Council. In ICC’s latest edition of the International Fire Code 2015, section 5307, you will now find the following:
Carbon Dioxide (CO2) Systems Used In Beverage Dispensing Applications
5307.1 General. Carbon Dioxide systems with more than 100 pounds of carbon dioxide used in a beverage dispensing applications shall comply with Sections 5307.2 through 5307.5.2.
5307.2 Permits. Permits shall be required as set forth in section 105.6
5307.3 Equipment. The storage, use, and handling of liquid carbon dioxide shall be in accordance with Chapter 53 and the applicable requirements of NFPA 55.
5307.4 Protection from damage. Carbon dioxide systems shall be installed so the storage tanks, cylinders, piping and fittings are protected from damage by occupants or equipment during normal facility operations.
5307.5 Required Protection. Where carbon dioxide storage tanks, cylinders, piping and equipment are located indoors, rooms or areas containing carbon dioxide storage tanks, cylinders, piping and fittings and other areas where a leak of carbon dioxide cam collect shall be provided with either ventilation in accordance with Section 5307.5.1 or an emergency alarm system in accordance with section 5307.5.2.
5307.5.1 Ventilation. Mechanical ventilation shall be in accordance with the International Mechanical Code and shall comply with all of the following:
1. Mechanical ventilation in the room or area shall be at a rate of not less than 1 cubic foot per minute per square foot.
2. Exhaust shall be taken from a point within 12 inches of the floor.
3. The ventilation systems shall be designed to operate at a negative pressure in relation to the surrounding area.
5307.5.2 Emergency alarm system. An emergency alarm system shall comply with all of the following:
1. Continuous gas detection shall be provided to monitor areas where carbon dioxide can accumulate.
2. The threshold for activation of an alarm shall not exceed 5,000 parts per million.
3. Activation of the emergency alarm system shall initiate a local alarm within the room or area min which the system is installed.
These changes will affect many branches of the architectural industry. Let JL Architects keep you code compliant.
Photo Credit: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/1/1f/Soda_bubbles_macro.jpg