September 2013 Monthly Meeting

Sep 3 2013 - 12:00pm - 1:30pm
Meeting Title: 

NFPA 285 - Assembly Test of Exterior Walls with Combustible Components


Aceh Community Room
Mercy Corps, 45 SW Ankeny St
Portland, OR 97204


Maria Spinu, PhD


NFPA 285 is the Standard Fire Test Method for Evaluation of Fire Propagation Characteristics of Exterior Non-Load-Bearing Wall Assemblies Containing Combustible Components. NFPA 285 assembly tests are required by the International Building Code (IBC) when exterior non-combustible walls contain combustible components. The scope of materials classified by the IBC requiring NFPA 285 testing is increasing. Combined with more stringent energy code requirements, the use of combustible materials is also growing in exterior walls. This seminar will discuss the impact of the NFPA 285 Test on buildings using IBC and ASHRAE 90.1 energy code requirements, the parameters and history of NFPA 285, and the definition of what building envelope components are combustible and require NFPA 285 testing by IBC. All of these elements combine to integrate NFPA 285 compliant assemblies into building envelope systems.

Maria received a Master’s Degree in Chemical Engineering and Ph.D. in Polymer Science and Engineering from Virginia Tech. She joined DuPont Central Research & Development in Wilmington, Delaware in 1990 as a Research Chemist and in 1995 she was promoted to Research Manager. In 2000 she joined DuPont Building Innovations as New Business Development Manager.

She currently leads Building Science and Sustainability initiatives for the commercial market. Her background in engineering, materials science, and building science provides an insightful understanding of current challenges in achieving sustainable building enclosures. Maria advises building professionals on the best alternatives for achieving energy efficiency without compromising durability of the building enclosure.

Maria is a member of ASHRAE 90.1 Standard Committee and Envelope Subcommittee, CSI (Construction Specifier Institute), and other professional and trade organizations. She has published many articles in peer reviewed and trade journals, is the author of 16 patents and has been a speaker at many regional, national and international conferences on building science and sustainability topics.