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The Official Website of Dr. John H. Klote, PE -  Updated July 2, 2017

Smoke is the major killer in building fires, and smoke control

provides significant protection from the threat of smoke.

Dr. John Klote, PE – Biographical Data

Dr. Klote is known throughout the world as an expert in smoke control due to his many books, technical papers, articles, presentations, seminars, workshops, as well as, his 19 years of fire research at the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). For 11 years after leaving NIST, Klote operated his own consulting company specializing in smoke control.


In 1986 John Klote earned his doctorate in mechanical engineering at George Washington University, and his dissertation was titled Pulsatile Infiltration that addressed the flow of air or smoke under conditions of fluctuating pressures. Klote earned his masters degree at George Washington University in 1978 and his bachelors degree at the University of Michigan in 1967.

Teaching and Writing, 2008 to Present

Dr. Klote has developed and taught smoke control courses for SFPE and ASHRAE. Klote conducts courses, seminars and workshops on smoke control for A&E firms and private companies. The seminars and workshops can be tailored for the specific needs of the client. He writes technical papers and articles about various aspects of smoke control technology. Klote headed a three year project that resulted in the Handbook of Smoke Control Engineering. Of three publishers interested in this handbook, Klote selected ASHRAE as the publisher, and ICC, SFPE and NFPA are copublishers. Klote developed the spreadsheet application, AtriumCalc, that can be used for engineering design calculations of atrium smoke exhaust systems.

In 2016, Klote was sponsored by the New Zealand Chapter of SFPE to conduct a series of 6 one-day smoke control workshops in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch. While in New Zealand, he conducted two seminars at the University of Canterbury in Christchurch. Klote has conducted webinars on various aspects of smoke control for Colt International, Ltd. Klote is a registered professional engineer in the District of Columbia. Dr. Klote is a fellow of SFPE, a fellow of ASHRAE, and a member of NFPA. He is the secretary and past chairman of the ASHRAE TC 5.06 Committee on Control of Fire and Smoke. Klote is a member of ASHRAE TC 9.12 Committee on Tall Buildings. Klote is a member emeritus of the NFPA Technical Committee on Smoke Management.

Smoke Control Consulting, 1997 to 2008

John Klote formed a company that used the results of research to provide consulting services to fire protection engineers, mechanical engineers and code officials concerning practical solutions to various fire protection problems. Klote’s consulting consisted primarily of engineering design analyses of smoke control systems. He conducted these analyses for a wide range of projects using the following methods of analysis: (1) algebraic equation method, (2) the CFAST zone fire model, (3) the CONTAM network flow model, and (4) the Fire Dynamics Simulator (FDS) model. Klote also did design review, and provided consulting to companies regarding products. Dr. Klote conducted research projects sponsored by ASHRAE and NIST that studied the threat to life due to smoke flow in buildings. Klote was the primary author of the 2002 book, Principles of Smoke Management, published jointly by ASHRAE and SFPE. He developed the zone fire model, AZONE, specifically for analysis of atrium smoke control systems, and AZONE was included with Klote’s 2002 ASHRAE smoke control book. Because of advances in CFD modeling, AZONE is no longer supported. Dr. Klote remained active in NFPA and ASHRAE committees, and he developed and taught smoke control courses for SFPE.  

National Institute of Standards and Technology, 1978 to 1997

Dr. Klote was a Project Leader at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) in Gaithersburg, Maryland. He conducted numerous research projects in the areas of smoke management, smoke movement and elevator use during fires. Techniques used by Klote include full-scale fire experiments, field tests, and computer simulations. The full-scale fire experiments included those at the Plaza Hotel in Washington DC that demonstrated the effectiveness of smoke control and provided insight into the interaction of smoke control and fire growth. Methods of computer simulation include (1) network modeling, (2) zone fire modeling and (3) CFD modeling. Dr. Klote participated in a joint research project with the CSTB Laboratory in France to study stairwell pressurization in buildings, and he participated in a joint project with the National Research Council in Canada to study elevator pressurization. Klote's research was the basis of the 1997 revision to the NFPA Life Safety Code allowing elevators to be used as a second means of egress from towers.

While Klote was the Head of the Building Fire Physics Group, he procured the first commercial CFD model to be used for fire simulations at NIST. Klote used this CFD model to study smoke detector activation in the presence of HVAC induced airflow. When Klote was in charge of Building Fire Physics, he managed NIST’s Large Scale Fire Facility where numerous fire tests and experiments were conducted. Klote acted as a consultant in the area of smoke movement for the investigations of the 1980 MGM Grand fire and the 1988 First Interstate Bank fire. He was the primary author of two books on smoke control sponsored by ASHRAE. In the early 1980s, Klote developed the computer network model, ASCOS, for analysis of pressurization smoke control systems, and this program was used for over a decade by Klote and others for analytical studies of smoke control system systems. Because of the development of CONTAM, ASCOS is no longer supported. Klote became a fellow of ASHRAE, a fellow of SFPE, and a member of NFPA. Dr. Klote was a member and chairman of the ASHRAE TC 5.6 Committee on Control of Fire and Smoke, a member of the NFPA Technical Air-Conditioning Committee, and a member of the NFPA Technical Committee on Smoke Management. Klote was active in a number of other ASHRAE committees.

Naval Facilities Engineering Command, 1967 to 1978

At the Naval Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC), Klote was involved in the design of mechanical systems for buildings, and he established worldwide criteria within the Navy for such systems. During his last four years with NAVFAC, Klote was the senior cost engineer for the design and construction of the Navy’s medical facilities at Bethesda, MD.

Honors and Awards

Dr. Klote has received numerous honors and awards including ASHRAE Distinguished Lecturer (1998 –2000), Keynote Speaker at CIBSE/ASHRAE Smoke Control Seminar (London England 1998), ASHRAE best paper awards (1993, 1992, 1991 and 1989), and other awards from NIST.


Klote has written seven books about smoke control, and the following are the most recent.

Other Publications

Klote has written chapters in a number of books. Based on practical experience at NAVFAC, Klote realized that the results of even very good research often go unnoticed unless they are made available to a wide range of professionals in relevant areas. For this reason, Klote has written many papers and articles to get the information out. While the exact number is unknown, Klote has written at least 80 papers and articles, but the number may exceed 100. Considering that many of Klote’s publications were for conferences, journals and magazines outside the U.S., the exact number of his publications may never be known. The following are some of his recent publications.

The Handbook of Smoke Control Engineering provides authoritative, comprehensive guidance on smoke control practice and engineering approaches.

AtriumCalc is a spreadsheet application for engineering design calculations of atrium smoke exhaust systems.

There have been some changes in the IBC since this book, but it still provides insights into the reasoning behind the smoke control provisions of the IBC.

Contact John Klote

Klote conducted full-scale fire experiments of smoke control at the Plaza Hotel Building.