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Fire Sprinklers Can Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Building Fires by 98 Percent, Research Finds

Study from FM Global and Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition Finds Other Environmental Benefits Too

JOHNSTON, R.I., USA—Greenhouse gases released by burning buildings can be reduced by 98 percent when automatic fire sprinklers are installed, according to a groundbreaking joint research project released today from FM Global, one of the world’s largest commercial property insurers, and the nonprofit Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition (HFSC). The research findings also reveal that a single fire in an unsprinklered building can negate the typical environmental benefits of “green” construction.

The study, conducted at FM Global’s Research Campus in West Glocester, R.I., USA, sought to identify, analyse and evaluate the environmental impact of fires, as well as determine the effectiveness of preventive measures in minimising their effect on the environment—issues of increasing global significance. The 1,600 acre, US$125 million Research Campus is one of the largest and most innovative fire and natural hazards research and testing centres in the world.

Researchers constructed two identical living rooms to represent a setting any homeowner or business owner could relate to. One of the two rooms was protected with a sprinkler and a fire was ignited in each room. As a result, scientists additionally have discovered that automatic fire sprinklers:

  1. Reduce fire damage by up to 97 percent;
  2. Reduce water usage to fight a home fire by upwards of 90 percent; and
  3. Reduce the amount of water pollution released into the environment.

"For most of its 175 years in business, FM Global has conducted scientific fire research to develop solutions that help commercial organisations protect their property and operations," said Dr. Louis Gritzo, vice president and manager of research at FM Global. "Fire sprinklers perform the same way, no matter the kind of building, and now we see conclusively that they not only prevent the devastating impact of fires but also negate significant environmental risks. This is especially important as more businesses seek to design and build energy-efficient, environmentally sustainable facilities."

The complete scientific research findings are available in a downloadable technical report "The Environmental Impact of Automatic Fire Sprinklers" at www.fmglobal.com/researchreports. A video about the research also can be viewed on YouTube.

About FM Global

For 175 years, clients in nearly 200 countries have worked with FM Global (www.fmglobal.co.uk) to develop robust property insurance and engineering solutions to protect their business operations from fire, natural disasters and other types of property risk. In recent years, FM Global has been named “Best Property Insurer in the World” by Euromoney magazine, “Best Global Property Insurer” by Global Finance magazine and received the prestigious Queen’s Award for Enterprise. The company is rated A+ (Superior) by A.M. Best and AA (Very Strong) by Fitch Ratings. In the United Kingdom, FM Global is the communicative name for FM Insurance Company Limited, which is regulated by the Financial Services Authority.

About Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition (HFSC):

The nonprofit Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition (HFSC) is a national, 501(c)(3) charitable organisation in the US focused solely on educational outreach. It is the leading resource for independent, noncommercial information about residential fire sprinklers.