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Environmental impact of fire sprinklers


Home fire sprinklers help protect the environment

VISION house tour The environmental impact of home fire sprinklers is being shown at the Green Builder® Media’s VISION House® exhibit in INNOVENTIONS at Epcot®, which opened on Earth Day 2012. The VISION House® exhibit, co-sponsored by NFPA with educational messaging from the Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition, is a green show home that highlights the best in green residential design and sustainable living. “Through this partnership, we hope to educate visitors on the key environmental benefits of sprinklers,” said NFPA President Jim Shannon. See photos, videos from the grand opening of the VISION House® at Epcot

The Environmental Impact of Automatic Fire Sprinklers
FM Global and the Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition, April 2010
The findings of a groundbreaking study show that greenhouse gases released by burning buildings can be reduced by 98% when automatic fire sprinklers are installed. The study, a collaborative effort of FM Global and the Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition, also found that automatic fire sprinklers: reduce fire damage by up to 97%; reduce water usage to fight a home fire by upwards of 90%; and reduce the amount of water pollution released into the environment. Download "The Environmental Impact of Automatic Fire Sprinklers" study from the FM Global web site.

Details about the FM Global study
Two 15x20 foot living rooms, each furnished with a flat-screen television, comfortable furniture, and bookshelves and family photos, were set on fire in October 2009 in West Glocester, Rhode Island, as part of a research project that looked at the environmental impact of home fires.

The project, a collaborative effort of FM Global and the Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition, studied:

  • the types, quantity and duration of air and water pollutants released from a home fire as well as the water usage from fire sprinklers and firefighters’ hoses
  • the environmental impact resulting from burning household furnishings and finish materials as well as disposing the fire-damaged contents of a home
  • the carbon footprint associated with rebuilding a burnt home

The two living rooms in the study, conducted at FM Global's 1,600-acre research campus, were nearly identical. The only difference was that one room was outfitted with a quick-response sprinkler. In both tests, firefighters ignited a blaze in a magazine rack near the corner of each room and stood-by to respond in 10 minutes (based on a typical response time that includes alarm notification, arrival, and set-up).

See NFPA's complete set of photos from the FM Global test burn on October, 1, 2009.Photos from the FM Global burn demonstration on environmental impact of home fire sprinklers