Sacramento Fire Fighters association | Cordova, CA | January 13 -14, 2020
There are numerous factors driving building design and construction innovation. Building Performance is a major factor, but the intended performance of the building can have several influences. These influences drive the desired outcome in building design.
In today’s environment two influences in building design include sustainability and energy conservation. Supporters of sustainable construction have driven demand by creating greater interest in expanding the use of engineered wood products as structural members. Recently the International Code Council developed the 2021 Edition of the Building Code and ratified the permitting of mass timber buildings up to eighteen stories. Do we have sufficient testing and data to support this increase in permitted heights?
To drive energy conservation, developers and building owners have utilized insulated panels on the exterior of their buildings. The standards regulating these exterior panels are varied internationally. While a couple of major façade fires have garnered public attention, there have been numerous fires internationally involving combustible facades once thought safe. Do we need a single standard that can be applied internationally?
To meet the demands of sustainability with greater efficiency, many building owners and managers are turning to developing energy storage technologies that deploy an Electro-chemical base to increase the energy density capabilities of their on-site battery energy storage system. In many cases, to avoid previous flooding conditions, these systems are being proposed for above ground installation in occupied buildings. Can these battery systems be deployed safely in occupied buildings? What would occur should a failure happen within the battery system or if the battery system is damaged? Would the occupants be at risk? Can the responding fire fighters safely bring the event to a successful conclusion?
The goal of this symposium is to discuss and identify:
- Knowledge gaps
- Areas of safety concerns
- Potential collaborative efforts to address these gaps and concerns
Target Attendees: (150 approximately)
- Fire officials
- Building officials
- Insurance and underwriters
Building Façade Systems:
Modern architecture has moved beyond traditional concrete skyscrapers. New modern designs incorporate the artistic talents of the designers and meet the customers desire to identify themselves with individualistic structures.
Energy codes also drive the incorporation of design features intended to conserve energy use in a building for all-seasons. There are also environmental challenges in various regions of the world where structures must withstand wind, rain, snow or extreme changes in the environment.
These design challenges have led to the use of artificial exterior systems known as facades since they serve purposes other than structural load bearing purposes. To accomplish these goals designers, contractors and industry have created multiple options to meet the demands. Unfortunately, a number of these designs have developed weaknesses when subjected to fire conditions.
The goal of our seminar will be to address the various test standards in use throughout the world and potentially identify a pathway forward to developing, or identifying, one singular standard that manufactures must meet as it applies to fire conditions. This would provide consistency of design and performance world-wide.
Tall Wood Buildings:
In recent years the idea of building structures to greater heights utilizing engineered timber products has gain traction. Recently we have seen structures completed that are eighteen stories in height. There are multiple efforts world-wide to increase the use of this form of construction utilizing Cross-Laminated Timber products.
The proposed session will review current activities and efforts, including in the United States where the Code Development Committee recently approved buildings up to eighteen stories.
We will review current testing, performance of structural components and related concerns. We will also attempt to establish a consensus pathway that provides for design flexibility and occupant and fire fighter safety.
Battery Energy Storage Systems:
In recent years we have experienced a growing desire to utilize high-density Battery Energy Storage Systems in occupied buildings. The significant amount of potential energy has raised safety questions especially concerning fire safety.
We will review the development of UL 9540A and the potential changes to the Safety Standards regarding Battery Energy storage Systems. We will discuss the potential knowledge gaps and concerns surrounding the expanded use of high-density battery systems in occupied buildings.
Firefighter Safety Research Institute:
UL Firefighter Safety Research Institute (FSRI) advances fire research knowledge and develops cutting edge, practical fire service education aimed at helping firefighters stay safe while more effectively protecting people and property. Working in partnership with the fire service, research departments, and agencies, UL FSRI executes firefighter research and makes the results widely available to the global fire community. With a team of pioneering experts and access to UL’s leading infrastructure, equipment, and vast knowledge and insights, UL FSRI conducts and disseminates research and training programs focused on the changing dynamics of residential, commercial, and industrial fires and the impact they have on strategies and tactics throughout the fire service
Low GWP (Flammable) Refrigerants:
Due to environmental concerns, the selection of refrigerants for heating, ventilation, air conditioning and refrigeration (HVAC/R) systems has become significantly more complicated. Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) were originally introduced as a replacement for ozone-depleting chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs). HFCs, however, are greenhouse gases and subject to use restrictions in most countries. As a result, the industry has turned its attention to refrigerants considered to have a low global warming potential (GWP).
Before 1990, most refrigerants were considered non-flammable, but in the late 1980s and early 1990s concerns about the ozone layer and the environment caused the industry to begin transitioning away from traditional refrigerants and toward lower GWP alternatives, which tend to have higher flammability characteristics.
The air conditioning and refrigeration industry has been actively working to address this issue since 2006, by developing a new class of refrigerants, known as A2L refrigerants to meet the lower GWP regulations. While having lower flammability characteristics as compared to traditional refrigerants, A2L refrigerants are much harder to ignite and are much less flammable than A3 hydrocarbon refrigerants, such as R290 (propane).
With the development of these new A2L refrigerants and the increasing charge limits in commercial and household products the Fire Service is asking, “How does this impact the safety of the occupants and our members who may be operating in structures with products containing A2L refrigerants?”.
This Symposium will bring together industry representatives, researchers and members of the fire service to discuss current safety requirements, testing that has been conducted, and potential safety concerns, with an emphasis on developing collaborative efforts to balance environmental, product, and fire safety.