From: Ken Simolo <simolo**At_Symbol_Here**CHEM.CHEM.ROCHESTER.EDU>
Subject: Re: [DCHAS-L] Natural Gas in Science Buildings
Date: Wed, 17 Sep 2014 12:11:52 -0400
Reply-To: DCHAS-L <DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**MED.CORNELL.EDU>
I would not normally recommend the installation of natural gas in an undergraduate lab building nor in most academic research buildings. The installation costs are very significant for minimal benefit. There is also the safety aspect of it as well. My major worry is having an incident that takes out a gas main. Other than that, most laboratory accidents can only affect a few labs. I do remember one incident more than 20 years ago. Someone turned on every gas outlet in an undergraduate lab. That means over 50 gas valves were fully open. They were not on Friday afternoon and I discovered it Monday morning. We were fortunate for a couple of reasons - two fume hoods were on 24/7 which helped keep the concentration down and I did not turn on the lights when I opened the door.
If one really wanted to be able to flame things, it would be very easy to have the small hand held butane burners attached to a stable base. The annual cost would be minimal. In spite of what I have seen over the years, I still believe in spending a little of "my money" if it saves huge amounts of money for the University. Ultimately it is in everyone's best interest.
What might make sense would be to bring in a main gas line into the building and terminate it immediately. That way, if anyone in the future had a process that required a significant amount of natural gas, it could be extended at a much lower cost versus bringing gas to the building after the building is finished.
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