Green buildings

Research Foundation webinar on “Fire Safety Challenges of ‘Green’ Buildings and Attributes”

In 2012, the Fire Protection Research Foundation (FPRF) published a literature review related to fire safety challenges of ‘green’ (sustainable) building materials, systems (technologies) and features. The aim of that work was to:

  • identify documented fire incidents in ‘green’ buildings
  • define a specific set of elements in ‘green’ building design, including configuration and materials, which, without mitigating strategies, increase fire risk, decrease safety or decrease building performance in comparison with ‘traditional’ construction
  • identify and summarize existing best practice case studies in which the risk introduced by specific ‘green’ building design elements has been explicitly addressed
  • and compile research studies related to incorporating building safety, life safety and fire safety as an explicit element in ‘green’ building indices, identifying gaps and specific needed research areas.

Since 2012, there have been several major fire events, which involved ‘green’ materials, systems, and features (collectively, ‘green’ attributes) in buildings. Green design features have been associated with photovoltaic panels and roof materials, lightweight timber frame buildings, and combustible insulation materials. This webinar will present highlights from a comprehensive information review of how the landscape of fire safety challenges associated with “green” attributes of buildings has developed since 2012. It is based on a global information search into the following:

  • fire events involving “green” and/or sustainable building materials, systems, and features
  • emerging “green” building materials, systems, and features
  • and research, regulatory changes, engineering approaches, risk mitigation strategies, and firefighting tactics associated with fire challenges with “green” and/or sustainable building materials, systems, and features.

While the research is comprehensive in scope, it is not exhaustive in detail, given the extent of advancement in these areas that has occurred since 2012. And, while significant advancements have been made, gaps remain, and strategies for proactively incorporating fire performance into the development of new “green” building materials, systems, and features (product development) are lacking; the tools to proactively assess the fire performance of “green” building materials, systems, and features at the product level (e.g., fire performance testing), and as installed in buildings, are lacking; and a broader building regulatory framework and design philosophy for achieving sustainable and fire resilient (SAFR) buildings are also lacking. The final report from the most recent research effort is available here.

Register for this webinar today. Visit for more upcoming NFPA & FPRF webinars and archives.

When: Wednesday, April 14, 12:30 p.m. Eastern Time.

Presenters: Brian Meacham, PhD, PE, Meacham Associates, and Margaret McNamee, PhD, Lund University. 

This webinar is supported by the Research Foundation 2021 Webinar Series Sponsors:

  • APA – The Engineered Wood Association
  • AXA XL Risk Consulting
  • Johnson Controls
  • Reliable Automatic Sprinkler Co., Inc.
  • Telgian Engineering and Consulting
  • The Zurich Services Corporation
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Sreenivasan Ranganathan
Director, Research Foundation, Mission to plan, manage and communicate research in support of the NFPA mission

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