Passive fire protection in your building is a problem that can be solved
Fire safety in buildings has become a significant growing concern, as most buildings today contain several sources that contribute to fire hazard and fire spreading, including HVAC systems.
In Europe for instance, 90% of all fire-related deaths and injuries are victims of building fires. This percentage includes over 5,000 fires that occur every day in buildings, which result in 11 deaths and over 190 injuries.
In these buildings, fire protection systems such as sprinklers, fire alarms, fire doors, fire rated walls and ceilings are essential.
Insulation can be an efficient solution to ensure the fire-resistance of your HVAC pipe and duct system, even at high temperatures.
Fire impact on economy, society and environment
Based on a report conducted by Fire Safety Europe, fires in buildings have a severe impact not only on people’s lives, but on economy and sustainability as well.
Every year, they cost 1% of most advanced countries' GDP and over 5000 full-time lost jobs. Not to mention, the pollution damage caused by significant amounts of toxins which affects our health and well-being.
What is the difference between active and passive fire protection?
Whether you are a building owner, a specifier or an installer, it is important to differentiate between active fire protection (AFP) which is basically about detecting, stopping and escaping fire, and passive fire protection (PFP) that consists in restraining and blocking fire from spreading further.
Active fire protection requires manual activation to perform, whereas passive fire protection is effective at all times and requires no action to operate.
What does compartmentation in fire protection mean?
Fire compartmentation consists of breaking the building into smaller units separated from one another by fire-resistant barriers such as walls, ceilings and floors.
This solution aims to limit the leakage of flames and smoke during a certain period of time and therefore provides routes for escape and evacuation for your building occupants.
What is fire resistance?
Fire Resistance is about the ability of a building component to resist fire for a specified time (30, 60, 90 or 120 minutes) and under conditions of a standard heat intensity without failing structurally or allowing transit of heat or any toxic gases.
To accomplish fire resistance, your building elements have to comply with the following criteria:
- Load bearing capacity (R) - refers to the stability and resistance of your building components during a fire event.
- Integrity (E) - refers to the ability of your building components to stop the flames and gasses from passing from the fire-side to the non-fire side.
- Insulation (I) - is a key component that minimizes the rise of temperatures on the non-fire side, for the denoted duration during which the fireside is exposed to a fully developed fire.
The role of HVAC systems within a building's fire safety concept
Your HVAC system plays a key role in fire safety, as it contributes, if the installation is fire-proofing, compartmentation of the building and prevention of fire spreading.
Whether for pipe or ductwork, ISOVER has developed multiple HVAC insulation solutions that can ensure that the different compartments of your building are thermally protected and resistant, even at high temperatures.
The solutions developed by our technical experts can meet fire resistance requirement from 30 minutes up to 120 minutes’ resistance, including smoke leakage.
HVAC systems can represent a fire risk
HVAC systems are not all alike. In fact, no other system in the home that can do as much to prevent fire can also hasten its spread. This scenario can basically happen when smoke and fire pass through the duct and pipe system to other building compartments.
Choose the right materials
Choosing the right insulation for your HVAC systems can be difficult because of the complexity of the duct construction (passing through different compartments), the fire conditions and how materials behave when exposed to fire (fire reaction).
ISOVER therefore is offering a wide range of U PROTECT solutions that emit the lowest possible levels of smoke and flaming droplets and resist fire for up to 2 hours.
U PROTECT solutions designed for HVAC fire insulation are non-combustible and prevent the ignition of fire and the emission of smoke or toxic gasses.
Here are some of the key benefits of U Protect for your HVAC insulation:
- Fire protection certifications for pipework, ventilation and smoke extraction ducts
- Total non-combustibility
- Up to 70% lighter than alternative stone wool solutions
- Easy and fast installation
- Compressed packaging
Understanding the euroclass system
The Euroclass classification system is a method that aims to classify the reaction to fire of construction materials and products. It was introduced to harmonize standards across the EU and it categorizes products into seven types of reaction (A1, A2, B, C, D, E or F). A1 is the highest level of performance, while F is the lowest.
Fire protection: glass wool vs. stone wool
Both glass wool and stone wool are rated A1 in the Euroclass Reaction to Fire Classification System. This means that they never contribute to a fire and they do not emit any smoke or flaming droplets.
Stone wool withstands temperatures in excess of 1,000 °C, and as a result it is more efficient when it comes to protect the building compartments against fire.