Sustainability and fire safety are two concepts that aren’t usually seen together, but that doesn’t mean you can’t incorporate both in your building design. Balancing sustainability and fire safety in your construction projects is the best way to approach building design holistically.
This type of design can benefit architects, contractors, firms, and the people visiting or occupying the building. Find out the sustainability benefits of fire-rated glazing and how it aligns with sustainability practices below.
Can Fire Safety Really Align with Sustainability Practices?
Yes, it’s possible to combine fire safety with sustainability. In today’s modern designs, you can limit a building’s impact on the environment and keep occupants safe from fire. These goals are no longer impossible to achieve simultaneously.
Fire safety experts ensure to meet fire safety and sustainability standards by considering key elements, such as having open spaces, as doing so will reduce the use of construction materials and lower your building’s environmental impact.
However, open plans can also mean there’ll be fewer smoke barriers that might make it difficult for occupants to see during evacuation. As such, you’ll need to integrate a smoke control system into your design.
Since sustainable designs are at their relative infancy for design trends, some techniques and features need to be proven over time. According to Robert Solomon from the U.S. National Fire Protection Association, “We’re seeing designs that prescriptive codes don’t address or have not even considered yet.”
To achieve sustainability goals in a way that follows local fire safety codes, it’s best to first use materials that are certified as safe and environmentally friendly, like SAFTI FIRST’s fire-rated glazing systems.
SAFTI FIRST is a company that practices sustainability in its daily operations. From using recyclable wood pallets and shipping boxes to sourcing regional materials for projects, SAFTI FIRST is all out on its efforts to lower its carbon footprint and helps you to do so as well. With our fire-rated glazing products, you can also enhance your building’s sustainability rating.
3 Ways Fire-Rated Glazing Boosts Sustainable Design
Fire-rated glazing doesn’t only protect occupants from the dangers of a fire. It can also be used as part of energy-efficient design, promoting your sustainable design goals. Here are some eco-friendly benefits to using fire-rated glazing systems.
Transparent building compartmentation
Creating divisions within a space allows groups to have designated areas for a wide range of purposes or activities. Apart from this, compartmentation with fire-rated glass walls tested to resistive standard ASTM E-119/UL 263 is also a great defense mechanism against fire. They limit the spread of smoke, fire, and the effects of radiant heat. This is essential for all establishments but mostly for corporate offices, hospitals, and schools that typically receive a lot of foot traffic.
With fire-rated glass confining further damage into an establishment, you get to preserve building materials and components, reducing the number of raw materials and energy needed in reconstruction and renovation after a fire.
Natural daylighting and increased visibility
Studies show that natural light has “physiological, psychological and behavioral influences on school children as well as workers.” A building with an ample amount of natural light offers occupants improved levels of health and performance.
Having glass walls allows natural light to pour into the space, creating a more open and inviting look. With the right glass materials, like fire-rated glass, you can permit light into the area but avoid glare and direct solar lighting on work surfaces.
Additionally, with this type of material, you can promote increased visibility between rooms. This is best for workspaces and common areas of hospitals, schools, and offices. Not only will occupants feel safe but they’ll also feel connected with everyone, encouraging positive interactions.
A well-lighted space can provide greater visual access in rooms and on stairwells, making the place easier to navigate in case of emergencies. You can also save energy and costs on electricity because you won’t need a lot of artificial lights to illuminate areas.
Helps your project earn LEED credits
Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) is a rating system developed by The U.S. Green Building Council. It’s a green building certification program that evaluates a project based on its positive environmental image and practices during construction and building use.
Meeting LEED standards indicates your organization is environmentally responsible. If your project has a minimum LEED certification, you can also get a tax break with the Sustainable Building Corporate Tax Credit.
Using fire-rated glass can help you earn LEED credits. You can get one credit for daylight and views by using glass instead of opaque materials because you’ll be bringing in more light into the space and providing outdoor sights.
You can also get two possible credits for construction waste management because fire-rated glass products are provided in exact quantities, eliminating additional construction waste. With SAFTI FIRST, the products are delivered using recyclable materials like wood pallets or reusable shipping boxes.
If your project is in California and parts of Nevada and Arizona, you can get two possible LEED credits by sourcing fire-rated glass products from SAFTI FIRST. Since SAFTI FIRST makes all its products in Merced, California, and sources primary raw materials from less than 70 miles of the manufacturing plant, using regional materials for projects will help you earn LEED credits.
Advance Your Design with Fire Safety and Sustainability
Merging fire safety and sustainability can be challenging since innovative sustainable designs are still at their early stages in addressing fire safety codes. However, it isn’t entirely impossible. You can make small changes in your plan that are compliant with both of these concepts.
By using fire-rated glass products, you can move forward with your eco-friendly goals while meeting fire protection standards. Working with SAFTI FIRST can help you reach these goals. We supply USA-made fire-rated solutions that can improve your project’s fire safety and sustainability rating.
Get in touch with us today to learn more about how our fire-rated glass solutions can help you win sustainability and fire safety points.