Given the demanding financial realities faced by many of our nation’s fire and emergency responders, it would be understandable if money came to mind when “green strategies” were discussed. In fact, the newly charted IAFC Environmental Sustainability Committee is concerned with both environmental and financial sustainability
“This is farm-style sustainability: stretch a buck, adapt to environmental change and explore and adopt new ways of doing business that help pass along opportunity and a healthy home to the next generation,” said IAFC President Chief Jeff Johnson.
The IAFC board of directors has asked the committee to:
Educate members on the long-term cost-savings and operational benefits of adopting environmentally sustainable practices
Define objectives to address the long-term challenges of climate change on fire and emergency service preparedness, prevention and response, as well as how we can adapt to these new environments
Advance solutions that address sustainability of fire and emergency service operations through green initiatives
Promote buy-in for sustainability initiatives
Align with other IAFC committees on coordinated strategies
“The fire service has always innovated,” said Committee Chair Mike Duyck, deputy fire chief for Tualatin Valley (Ore.) Fire District. “We’re looking for strategies that make the most efficient use of resources, both human and material. Ideally they’re good for the environment and the bottom line over the long haul.”
The Environmental Sustainability Committee will meet at Fire-Rescue International this August and welcomes your participation.
The committee will also host an FRI seminar, When Red Meets Green—Environmental Sustainability in the Fire Service: What your Fellow Chiefs Are Doing Everyday (Friday, August 27, 3 pm). Some of this panel presentation’s topics will include:
Lessons learned from green building projects
Alternative deployment strategies
Run-off capture at fire scenes
Opportunities for enhancing energy efficiency
In the coming months, the committee will set up a webpage to provide resources, documents and cost matrices; these materials will help departments interested in cost savings through environmentally sustainable practices. Look for educational articles from the committee in future On Scene issues as well.
The IAFC Environmental Sustainability Committee includes chief officers from the following organizations:
(UL Media Article) Continuing its tradition of contributing to firefighter safety and leveraging a long history of experience in electrical safety, Underwriters Laboratories was recently awarded a research grant from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security/FEMA 2009 Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program — Fire Prevention and Safety Grants.
The grant funds a project that addresses first responder concerns about fighting fires involving photovoltaic (PV) modules. This research project will investigate firefighter vulnerability to electrical and casualty hazards when fighting a fire involving PV modules and support systems in residential and commercial buildings. The increasing use of PV systems makes the need for this project: PV use is growing at a rate of 30 percent annually in the US. The use of this new technology has complicated traditional firefighter tactics, leaving firefighters vulnerable to severe hazards. Though the electrical and fire hazards of PV systems are addressed through current product standards and certification, a limited body of knowledge and insufficient data exists for the fire service to develop safe tactics during suppression and ventilation activities.
Evaluating the hazards associated with PV systems in firefighting operations will require the design of experimental methodologies based on UL’s historical and current expertise in product testing and standards development. The experiments will develop empirical data to understand the magnitude of the hazards. Methodologies will be based on electrical principals, fire dynamics and firefighting tactics.
UL will share the results and information gained through the research with the fire service community and PV industry through Web-based educational programs, presentations and articles. The results from the study will serve as the foundation for potential PV installation code revisions and the creation of tactical and operational guidelines resulting in improved firefighter preparedness and safety.
July 8th, 2010
IGCC Hearing Schedule and Registration Published
The hearing schedule and registration for the International Green Construction Code has been published at this link.
As part of its commitment to green and sustainable safety concepts, the Code Council is excited to present a new set of green codes under its initiative entitled “IGCC: Safe and Sustainable by the Book.” This initiative includes the ANSI/ASHRAE/USGBC/IES Standard 189.1 as a jurisdictional requirement option, and the collaboration of the Council’s closest allies and pre-eminent thought leaders in green building, as well as input from our members and the general public.
"Think the trend of businesses making green office renovations is just a passing fad? Not according to the latest issue of EL Insights, which reports that the U.S. green building market value will balloon from $71.1 billion now to $173 billion by 2015. Commercial green building is expected to grow by 18.1% annually during the same time period from $35.6 billion to $81.8 billion..."
"Solar panels seem like a great idea in theory, but they're too expensive for homeowners who don't have thousands of dollars to burn.... Now PG&E is giving solar leasing a big push with a $100 million tax equity project financing agreement for over 3,500 SunRun home installations in California, Arizona, Colorado, Massachusetts, and New Jersey. According to PG&E, the $100 million fund is the biggest single solar lease pool ever created...."
Fire safety and the green movement will be covered at the upcoming IAFC Fire Rescue International Conference in Chicago in August (www.iafc.org). Ed Comeau from the IAFC Fire and Life Safety Section recorded a podcast outlining what is going to be covered during this three-hour presentation featuring experts from across the nation.
FireHouse.com - Kraig Stevenson & David Nichols, International Code Council
"Energy efficient and renewable technologies on and in commercial buildings are becoming more commonplace as businesses "go green." Due to the upswing in sustainable construction activities, it is important to understand how these technologies are applied within the framework of a sustainable building code, as well as how green building design and construction relates to fire safety. There is a need to ensure integration between regulations that promote sustainable construction and those that promote the safety of building occupants and firefighters."
As part of its commitment to green and sustainable safety concepts, the International Code Council and Cooperating Sponsors AIA and ASTM International are excited to present the first set of model green construction codes. This initiative includes the ANSI/ASRHAE/USGBC/IES Standard 189.1 as a jurisdictional compliance option, and the collaboration of the Council’s closest allies and pre-eminent thought leaders in green building, as well as input from our members and the general public.
The Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition (HFSC) in partnership with FM Global released the findings of their comprehensive study in a technical report showing that sprinklers reduce greenhouse gas emissions in a fire by 98 percent. (PDF 2mb).