Protecting the environment with sprinklers

Recently, posted the results of a study on how automatic fire sprinklers can help protect the environment.

The study involved the burning of two furnished living rooms, one of which had been outfitted with a quick-response sprinkler. Forty-four seconds after ignition, the single sprinkler head in the protected living room activated and began to fight the fire, while fire raged in the unprotected room. After five minutes, the fire in the sprinklered room continued to be contained, while in the unprotected room, every combustible item was burning. After the test, FM Global compared the environmental impact of each fire, specifically:

  • the types, quantity and duration of air and water pollutants released from a home fire
  • 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 findings 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%
  • reduce the amount of water pollution released into the environment

This video shows the difference between the two burning living rooms.

There are photos and additional information about the test burn at FM Global.

The complete scientific research findings from this study are available in an FM Global report, “The Environmental Impact of Automatic Fire Sprinklers“.