Author: Brian Meacham, Brandon Poole, Juan Echeverria and Raymond Cheng, Worcester Polytechnic Institute. Re-posted by permission of Brian Meacham NFPA
Many new commercial facilities are being designed and constructed with an objective of achieving a “green building” certification. There are many sustainable building features and products that singly or together may have an impact on fire safety unless there is a design approach which mitigates those effects. The Foundation commissioned this study to develop a baseline of information on the intersection of “green building” design and fire safety and to identify gaps and specific research needs associated with understanding and addressing fire risk and hazards with green building design.
A global literature review was undertaken to (a) identify actual incidents of fires in green buildings or involving green building elements, (b) identify issues with green building elements or features which, without mitigating strategies, increase fire risk, decrease safety or decrease building performance in comparison with conventional construction, (c) identify reports, studies and best practice cases which speak to the issue of addressing fire risk introduced by specific green building design elements, and (d) identify research studies in which building safety, life safety and fire safety have been incorporated as an explicit element in green building indices. In addition, consideration was given to how one might express the level of increased risk or hazard, or decreased performance, associated with fire performance of green building features. Steps were also taken to identify gaps and specific research needs associated with understanding and addressing fire risk and hazards with green building design. Brian Meacham et al, Fire Safety Challenges of Green Buildings (Fire Protection Research Foundation, 2012), p.2
The Fire Training Program at the Oregon Department of Public Safety Standards and Training (DPSST), in partnership with the Washington County Fire Training Association (WCFTA), recently hosted a one-day class on Solar Photo Voltaic (PV) Safety for Fire Fighters at SolarWorld in Hillsboro, Oregon. Emergency incidents involving Solar Photo Voltaic (PV) equipment are becoming more and more common in both urban and rural areas.
The class was delivered by Captain Matt Paiss of the San Jose Fire Department (California) who is one of the nation’s leading experts in this area. Captain Paiss is a 15-year veteran of the San Jose Fire Department, and is currently assigned as a Training Officer. He was a contributor to the California State Fire Marshal’s Office PV Guidelines, as well as the IFC and NFPA1 fire code sections on PV.
This is a great discussion about Green Roof Wind & Fire Codes from Virtual Summit 2011 panel.
Kelly Luckett, Mike Ennis, and Jim Kirby
No longer can the green roof be deleted from a project due to failure to comply with the fire code. After three years in the making from members of Single Ply Roofing Industry in cooperation with Green Roofs for Healthy Cities (GRHC), we now have a green roof design guide for minimizing the risk of fire on green roofs.
The securing of a place in mainstream construction through the International Code Council (ICC) has resulted in a milestone for the North American green roof movement. Fire concerns are only half of the code story as the wind design guide is still progressing through the ANSI process – we must overcome both the wind and the fire obstacle. Kelly Luckett, President of Green Roof Blocks, moderates and shares his experiences representing GRHC with the consensus based ANSI/SPRI VF-1 and RP-14 standards. Jim Kirby, NRCA’s AED, Technical Communications, provides NRCA commentary about building codes, vegetative roofs and RP-14. Mike Ennis, Technical Director for SPRI, speaks to SPRI’s leadership leadership in the development of fire and wind standards and experience in the building code arena.
I would love to hear the roof report from the crew who found this condition on the roof! LOL
Goats feed on oat grass on the roof at Siegel 's Cottonwood Farm in Crest Hill, IL on Thursday May 24, 2012. | Matt Marton~Sun-Times Media
Green Maltese had the privilege to teach about many hazards associated with Modern Roofs at FDIC 2012. We discussed Green Roofs and many challenges they present. However this is one surprise we didn’t cover and might just be the best ones yet.
Portland Fire RescueFirefighters knocked down a fire in a house with solar panels — which can’t be turned off — in less than 30 minutes. The panels were installed based on a new code written for just such a situation.Firefighters knocked down a fire in a Southeast Portland home this morning, maneuvering around solar panels that pose a threat of electrocution.
The operation went smoothly, with the fire brought under control in less than 30 minutes thanks to the solar panel installation, said Paul Corah, spokesman for Portland Fire Rescue.
The panels were placed in accordance with a new Oregon building code that went into effect last year, requiring installers to leave space on the sides of panels and on the top of the roof to give firefighters room to put their ladders and cut out sections as needed to let heat escape.
Corah said the fire was the first time the new code was tested — and it worked.
If the panels had covered the roof, firefighters would not have been able to break it open: Solar panels cannot be turned off like other electrical sources. The fire would not have been able to vent and that would have made it worse, Corah said. As it was, the fire caused about $70,000 worth of damage.
Photo from UL study for Firefighter Safety and Photovoltaic Systems
What are the safety hazards with PV?
What tactics should be used at fires with PV present?
How do I secure utilities on a PV system?
These are just a few questions you should pose to every firefighter next shift or training meeting.
Photovoltaic (PV) is a method of generating electrical power by converting solar radiation into direct current electricity using semiconductors that exhibit the photovoltaic effect.
Total global solar energy capacity averaged 40 percent annual growth from 2000 to 2010; grid-connected solar photovoltaic capacity grew 50 percent per year for much of this time. This growth increases the potential of a fire department response to a building with PV, irrespective of the PV being involved with the initiation of the fire event. This growth increases the potential of a fire department response to a building with PV, irrespective of the PV being involved with the initiation of the fire event.
What are the safety hazards with PV?
Under the United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Assistance to Firefighter Grant Program – Fire Prevention and Safety Grants, Underwriters Laboratories (UL)this study examines electrical and fire performance experiments were conducted to identify and quantify the electrical shock hazard that may be present to firefighters during the suppression, ventilation, and overhaul activities associated with a building or structure fire involving the presence of PV equipment. The scope of these experiments included:
Water for Fire Suppression During Firefighting Activites with PV
Shock Hazard Due to the Direct Contact with Energized Components
Emergency Disconnect and Disruption Techniques
Severing of Conductors
Shock Hazard from Damaged PV Modules and Systems
PV Power During Low Ambient Light, Artificial Light, and Light from a Fire
Potential Shock Hazard from Fire Damaged PV Components and Systems
What tactics should be used at fires with PV present?
In this study tactical considerations for PV include:
Shock hazard due to the presence of water and PV power during suppression activities
Shock hazard due to the direct contact with energized components during firefighting operations
Emergency disconnect and disruption techniques
Severing of conductors
Assessment of PV power during low ambient light, artificial light and light from a fire
Assessment of potential shock hazard from damaged PV modules and systems.
For more information about this project please see:
Every Incident Commander,Company Officer and firefighter will greatly enhance there safety by taking this online class. UL has developed an online interactive training module. The program includes a professionally narrated description of all of the experiments, their results and the tactical considerations. Experimental video is used and graphical data is explained in a way that brings science to the street level firefighter.
This post is dedicated to all brothers and sister firefighters but especially those in Indianapolis, Indiana the home of FDIC the Super Bowl of Firefighting
MAYOR ANNOUNCES COMPLETION OF FIRST GREEN ROOF INSTALLATION ON INDIANAPOLIS CITY PROPERTY
Project Addresses Drainage Issues and Creates Community Space
INDIANAPOLIS – Mayor Greg Ballard today announced the completion of the Union Station green roof project – the first green roof installed on city property in Indianapolis. The green roof project, located on the former train deck spanning Meridian Street, addressed long-standing drainage concerns both on and below the deck, and has been enhanced with a community space available for educational events.
“The newly installed green roof atop Union Station eliminates several long-term maintenance concerns in a visually appealing and innovative way,” said Mayor Ballard. “This unique project and the community space created by its construction are part of our efforts to become one of the most sustainable cities in the Midwest.”
Standing water on the deck surface had damaged the deck, and leaking also degraded the pavement on Meridian Street below. There were also signs of degradation of the structural bridge steel. The green roof project includes a new deck with a re-graded surface to prevent standing water, a comprehensive trench drainage system and a modular green roof designed to reduce storm water runoff.
About 50 percent of the total surface is green roof material while the other portion is a concrete roof deck that includes picnic tables, outdoor benches and umbrellas. Total project costs were about $250,000; a $50,000 grant from Citizens Energy Group covered the green infrastructure elements of the project.
The green roof will be maintained organically with no chemical pesticides or herbicides, will be weeded, and will be watering if drought conditions last more than three months. The City of Indianapolis partnered with local engineering firm RW Armstrong, which has offices in Union Station. The firm completed a portion of the design and engineering work for the project.
Project Name: Indianapolis Children’s Museum Green Roof Year: 2010 Owner: Indianapolis Children’s Museum Location: Indianapolis, IN, USA Building Type: Commercial Type: Extensive System: Single Source Provider Size: 3228 sq.ft. Slope: 1% Access: Accessible, Open to Public
Project Name: Eli Lilly Year: 2009 Owner: Eli Lilly Location: Indianapolis, IN, USA Building Type: Corporate Type: Extensive System: Custom Size: 2682 sq.ft. Slope: 1% Access: Accessible, Open to Public Submitted by: Green Roof Blocks Designers/Manufacturers of Record:
Modular Greenroof Systems: Green Roof Blocks and Green Paks
Project Name: John H Boner Community Center Year: 2008 Location: Indianapolis, IN, USA Building Type: Commercial Type: Extensive System: Custom Size: 500 sq.ft. Slope: 1% Access:
Inaccessible, Open to Public Designers/Manufacturers of Record:
Architect: Halsted Architects
Grower: Hortech / LiveRoof LLC
Installer: AAA Roofing
1oth & Rural St. Green Roof
Project Name: 10th & Rural Year: 2007 Owner: Private Location: Indianapolis, IN, USA Building Type: Commercial Type: Extensive System: Single Source Provider Size: 565 sq.ft. Slope: 1% Access: Accessible, Private Submitted by: LiveRoof, LLC Designers/Manufacturers of Record:
Modular Greenroof System: LiveRoof
Architect: Schmidt Associates
Grower: Hortech / LiveRoof LLC
Installation: AAA Roofing
Waterproofing System: Firestone Building Products
Slip Sheet Product: EPDM, Firestone Building Products
Project Name: Schmidt Associates Year: 2005 Owner: Schmidt Associates Location: Indianapolis, IN, USA Building Type: Commercial Type: Extensive System: Single Source
Provider Size: 250 sq.ft. Slope: 1.5% Access:
Accessible, Open to Public Submitted by: John Shepley Designers/Manufacturers of Record:
Greenroof Plants/Emory Knoll Farms
Project Name: Indianapolis Museum of Art (IMA) Owner: City of Indianapolis Location: Indianapolis, IN, USA Building Type: Municipal/Government Type: Intensive System: Single Source Provider Size: 15000 sq.ft. Slope: 1% Access: Accessible, Open to Public Submitted by: Greenroofs.com Designers/Manufacturers
Architect: Browning Day Mullins Dierdorf Architects
To learn more about Green Roofs attend my 2012 FDIC class.
Hazards of Modern Roofs
Lieutenant/Training Officer John Shafer, Greencastle (IN) Fire Department
The class will examine trends and methods in modern building construction with an emphasis on roofs, their direct relationship to vertical ventilation, structural firefighting operations, and firefighter survivability. Inherent roof construction features and hazards that directly influence truck company work will be the main focus, along with green roofs, methods, and exotic materials that are used to achieve green standards, and the potential hazards that they present to fire service personnel. Many of these materials such as recycled rubber shingles, solar panels, and green (garden) roofs are not common knowledge to most fire service personnel.
This post is dedicated to my brother and sister firefighters from Colorado.
Solar shingles are solar panels incognito. Instead of mounting on your roof, they become your roof or integrate seamlessly with the existing roof shingles. In many cases, they can be stapled to the sub-roofing the same as an ordinary shingle. On average, shingles are about 12 inches wide by seven feet long. There are also solar roof tiles that integrate well with mission-style housing common in the sunny Southwest. Solar shingles, like most thin-film BIPV products currently on the market, are less efficient than silicon solar panels. But, again like other Building Integrated Photovoltaic ( BIPV )innovations, are a burgeoning work in progress.
Until now, solar energy’s two challenges have been cost and acceptance. Dow is working to change all that. Dow has been developing BIPV building materials that enable solar energy cells to be incorporated directly into the design of commercial and residential building materials such as roofing systems, exterior sidings, fascias and more.
ARVADA, Colo., Oct 13, 2011 (BUSINESS WIRE) — The roof of a home has always
had the critical job of protecting families from the elements. Today, for the
first time, a new commercially-available solar roofing shingle has entered the
U.S. housing market that not only protects from the elements, but uses one of
those elements — sunlight — to turn the typical American home into a dynamic
At an event today in Arvada attended by Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper
and supporters of solar technology, alternative energy, green manufacturing and
the latest innovations in home building, Dow Solar, a division of The Dow
Chemical Company announced that the DOW POWERHOUSE(TM) Solar Shingle will now be available to homeowners in Colorado. On October 4, Dow announced that the product would be available in targeted U.S. markets and now Colorado becomes the first state to offer Dow’s revolutionary Solar Shingle.
Co-hosted by D.R. Horton, one of the leading homebuilders in the nation and the first residential production builder to participate with Dow Solar, the event showcased D.R. Horton’s commitment to offer the POWERHOUSE(TM) Solar Shingle as a standard feature on 50 new homes in the developer’s Spring Mesa community in Colorado. Each of the remaining homes in Spring Mesa will receive a 3 kilowatt POWERHOUSE(TM) Solar
“We are excited that Dow has chosen D.R. Horton’s Spring Mesa community to launch its POWERHOUSE(TM) Solar Shingle technology,” said Scott Davis, Division President, D.R. Horton – Colorado. “We believe the addition of solar technology will attract new homebuyers to Spring Mesa who will now have Dow’s innovative Solar Shingles available on one of the most scenic and beautiful communities in the Denver area.”
Why Launch in Colorado?
Dow chose Colorado as the first launch market for the POWERHOUSE(TM) Solar Shingle because the state provides the right combination of financial returns and market receptivity to solar.
According to Neal Lurie, Executive Director of the Colorado Solar Energy Industries Association (COSEIA), a number of factors combine to make Colorado the right market for the introduction of an important new solar technology.
“Colorado is a national leader in solar energy innovation and job creation. We have the right combination of public sector support, private sector
commitment, homeowner interest and an enthusiastic community of builders and installers,” Lurie said. “The launch of POWERHOUSE(TM) in Colorado is a significant accomplishment for the state as clean energy once again serves as a catalyst for economic development.”
Working with Homebuilders, Roofing Contractors and Installers in Colorado.
Dow Solar will bring the POWERHOUSE(TM) Solar Shingle to Colorado by working with leading homebuilders such as D.R. Horton to create more solar communities, and with POWERHOUSE(TM) Authorized Dealers to grow the solar market in Colorado one rooftop at a time. Expansion throughout Colorado is continuing and other U.S. market will be announced in the coming months.
The DOW POWERHOUSE(TM) Solar Shingle
The POWERHOUSE(TM) Solar Shingle roofing system protects the home like a standard roofing shingle while providing energy that powers the home and saves the homeowner money.
The three-part solar roofing system package includes an array of shingles, an inverter and an energy monitoring system. The shingles, custom designed to fit the individual homeowners’ budget and energy goals, are arranged to complement the style and form of the home and roofline. The inverter then converts Direct Current (DC) produced from the shingles into Alternating Current (AC), which is then fed to the home’s appliances, or back to the power grid. Finally, a real-time monitoring system provides readouts to homeowners to assess energy usage, production and the amount of excess power flowing back to the grid.
The great look of the integrated POWERHOUSE(TM) Solar Shingle solution now serves the needs of homeowners who want to go solar, but dislike the aesthetic of bulky, rack-mounted systems.
To learn more about these solar shingles and many other hazards on modern roofs be sure and attend Green Maltese class at FDIC 2012
Hazards Of Modern Roofs:
The presentation will include an intense and concentrated examination of trends and methods in modern building construction with an emphasis on roofs, their direct relationship on vertical ventilation, structural firefighting operations, and firefighter survivability.
Inherent roof construction features and hazards that directly influence truck company work will be the main focus of this program.
Program Overview and Pedagogical Approach
The program will address timely issues related to modern roofs and upcoming push to make sustainable buildings.
This presentation will examine various green roofs, methods and exotic materials that are used to achieve green standards, and the potential hazards that they present to fire service personnel. Many of these materials such as recycled rubber shingles, solar panels and green (garden) roofs are not common knowledge to most fire service personnel due to past and current teaching practices that only address traditional building construction for the fire service.