Challenges like climate change, an increasing world population, the depletion of resources, etc., push people and society to strive for a more sustainable way of living. To reach environmental, social and economic sustainability, improving our building stock is crucial. Increasing buildings’ sustainability often implies using greener technologies, construction materials and systems. These innovative solutions can substantially contribute to greening our buildings. Yet, introducing new variables can significantly impact the fire performance of buildings, and building fires can negatively affect the environment, society and economy. That’s why it is essential to consider a building’s fire safety and its fire resilience to boost its sustainability, elements that are often forgotten so far.
To Fire Safe Europe (FSEU), national and European authorities should acknowledge that fire safety and sustainability reinforce one another by making sure that fire safety and fire resilience are considered in the relevant policies and regulations.
At the EU level, the European Green Deal (announced in 2019) and the revision of key directives on renovation and energy-efficiency present a unique opportunity to take a holistic approach to sustainability by building safety in and making our buildings fit for the future by integrating fire resilience. Through various activities, Fire Safe Europe gathered fire safety and building sustainability’s experts to discuss how fire resilience could participate in the EU Green Deal’s success and furthered its position with dedicated Policy Recommendations structured around three key areas:
- Reflecting the multifaceted nature of sustainability in European and national building regulations by including fire safety;
- Harnessing the potential of green technologies in a fire-safe way;
- Raising awareness among citizens and stakeholders of the dynamics between sustainability and fires.
The building sector could also be a frontrunner by, for instance, including fire safety and fire resilience in sustainability rating schemes. So far these schemes often omit for fire safety, or only demand compliance with existing regulation. As explained in this article published in the Fire and Risk Management Journal, sustainability rating schemes should go further and provide for the existing dynamics between fire and sustainability. That is why, we are developing a fire safety module for sustainability rating schemes.