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Environmental benefits of sprinklers

The two living rooms used for the study, "The Environmental Impact of Automatic Fire Sprinklers," conducted at FM Global's 1,600-acre research campus, were nearly identical. The only difference was that one room was outfitted with a quick-response sprinkler. In both tests, firefighters ignited a blaze in a magazine rack near the corner of each room and stood-by to respond in 10 minutes (based on a typical response time that includes alarm notification, arrival, and set-up).

The Environmental Impact of Automatic Fire Sprinklers

FM Global and the Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition, April 2010

The findings of a groundbreaking study show that greenhouse gases released by burning buildings can be reduced by 98 percent when automatic fire sprinklers are installed. The study, a collaborative effort by FM Global and the Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition, also found that automatic fire sprinklers: reduce fire damage by up to 97 percent; reduce water usage to fight a home fire by upwards of 90 percent; and reduce the amount of water pollution released into the environment. Download "The Environmental Impact of Automatic Fire Sprinklers" study from the FM Global web site.

Details about the FM Global study

Two, 15x20 foot living rooms, each furnished with a flat-screen television, comfortable furniture, and bookshelves and family photos, were set on fire in October 2009 in West Glocester, Rhode Island, as part of a research project that looked at the environmental impact of home fires.

The project, a collaborative effort of FM Global and the Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition, studied:

  • the types, quantity, and duration of air and water pollutants released from a home fire as well as the 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


Research underscores environmental impact of home fire sprinklers
See NFPA's complete set of photos from the FM Global test burn on October, 1, 2009.