SFPE Symposium: Join experts and leaders in advancing fire safety and sustainable building design


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By Grunde Jomaas, PhD, and Brian J. Meacham, PhD, PE, CEng, FIFireE, FSFPE

The emission of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere from human activities has facilitated significant changes to our global climate. 

This in turn has resulted in an increase in the magnitude and frequency of climate- and weather-related hazard events, including wildfires.

The combination is creating significant socio-economic impacts, including property loss, business and insurance losses, illness, injury and death, on top of damages to our ecosystems and environment.

The built environment has been recognized as a significant contributor to global greenhouse gas emissions through use of copious amounts of fossil fuel powered electricity, embodied carbon in construction materials, and other inefficient uses of natural resources.

This has prompted a decades-long effort to increase environmental, social and financial sustainability of the built environment through better thermal insulation of buildings, use of local alternative energy sources such as photovoltaic systems, material with lower embodied carbon, and more.

However, some sustainable building materials, technologies and features have created unintended fire hazards and risks.

Likewise, some sustainable community design principles, such as increased densification, may create unintended urban fire risks, especially when located in the wildland urban interface.

SFPE Engineering Solutions Symposium for Fire Safety and Sustainable Building Design

This SFPE Engineering Solutions Symposium, in partnership with FRISSBE, is planned for 29-30 November 2023 in Ljubljana, Slovenia, and has been crafted based on the driving need to engage fire safety engineers, architects, policy makers, researchers, fire service representatives and sustainability professionals in meaningful dialogue on how to jointly tackle issues at the nexus of sustainability and fire safety, with the aim to promote sustainable and fire resilient built environments.

This requires understanding the diversity of sustainability and fire resilience design objectives for the built environment, the current and emerging technologies for building sustainability and fire safety, and policy and regulatory challenges around balancing these diverse and sometimes competing objectives.

To help advance interdisciplinary discussions and holistic solutions, a select group of leading thinkers, researchers, and practitioners in both sustainability and in fire safety have been assembled to share their knowledge and engage with the attendees. 

In fact, the event features leading speakers from more than 10 countries – view their biographies on the symposium website at sfpe.org/fssbdsymposium.

This group of experts will challenge myths and provide science-based data – identify challenges and offer solutions – overview the current state and provide insights into the future. 

Each session will feature a 30-minute question and answer session where the attendees can dive into details on the topics at hand with the session speakers.

The event is generously sponsored by Danfoss, Evoks, Rockwool, and Knauf; the International Fire and Safety Journal is the event’s media partner.

Nowhere else will attendees have the opportunity to engage with such an ensemble of globally recognized and respected architects and policy makers, fire safety engineers and sustainability engineers, fire researchers and fire service representatives, to explore the interactions of sustainability and fire safety, and be part of charting a path forward to address our future needs in these areas.

To put it into a bit more context, the symposium has representatives from the Society of Fire Protection Engineers (CEO and president), NFPA (research director), the Slovenian Fire Protection Association (president), the International Association of Fire Fighters (Director Health and Safety Operational Services), the International Association for Fire Safety Science (president), and the International Master of Science in Fire Safety Science (programme director). In addition, the list of speakers includes representatives from world-leading universities, engineering companies and architectural firms.

Last, but not least, there will also be a chance to engage with the leading fire safety influencer, namely the man behind the Fire Science Show podcast.

Note that there will also be a lab tour on Friday, 1 December, hosted by the ZAG Slovenia fire lab and the FRISSBE (Fire-safe Sustainable Built Environment) team.

It will feature a live furnace test, including discussion of expected results and state-of-the art presentations related to fire safety associated with the tested construction element.

Be part of the discussion. Be part of the solution. 

Join us at the SFPE Engineering Solutions Symposium for Fire Safety and Sustainable Building Design in Ljubljana and make your voice heard! Learn more and register at sfpe.org/fssbdsymposium.

IFSJ Comment

In an era of escalating climate change impacts, a strategic blend of fire safety and sustainable building design isn’t just advisable – it’s indispensable.

Our evolving world is marred by the omnipresent threat of wildfires, strengthened by human-induced climate changes, thereby making the need for more resilient and sustainable infrastructures even more pronounced.

The realities are inescapable: greenhouse gas emissions from our built environments, climate-aggravated wildfires, and the ensuing socio-economic repercussions.

However, the pursuit of sustainability, while commendable, isn’t without its complexities.

The incorporation of certain sustainable materials and design principles, though environmentally conscientious, sometimes inadvertently amplifies fire hazards.

It’s an intricate balance, and it’s easy to get swayed by the allure of eco-friendly design without paying heed to potential fire risks.

The collision between the dual objectives of sustainability and fire resilience often brews complications, and these challenges need addressing head-on.

And what better platform than the SFPE Engineering Solutions Symposium for this pivotal discourse?

The upcoming SFPE Engineering Solutions Symposium, scheduled in the picturesque locale of Ljubljana, is an essential event for the Fire Engineering sector.

It promises a stage for rigorous interdisciplinary dialogues, where the brightest minds from over 10 nations converge, addressing the intertwined goals of fire safety and sustainable building design.

This is not just a symposium; it’s a cauldron of innovative ideas, a place where myths will be debunked, solutions unveiled, and future pathways illuminated.

As the official media partner, International Fire and Safety Journal recognises the monumental significance of this event. It’s a confluence of experts and an invitation to every stakeholder to participate and influence the trajectory of sustainable and fire-resilient building designs.

The extensive list of eminent speakers, representing the zenith of fire protection, safety science, and sustainability domains, guarantees an enriching experience.

The SFPE Engineering Solutions Symposium is a clarion call to the global community.

The symposium beckons all to immerse in holistic solutions, witness groundbreaking fire lab tests, and be an active part of the epochal transition towards a safer, more sustainable world.

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