Sustaining Future

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Fire Resistant Homes

Many people, who has just escaped from the devastating Victoria Bush Fire, are determined to rebuild. This poses an interesting question; what kind of home will be safe in such environment? Building with fire resistant material certainly helps a long way. Here are some information from source:

Sand stone with fine grains can moderate fire successfully without having serious cracks. Most of other stones will disintegrate into small pieces when heated during fire and cooled afterwards and hence unsuitable.

Bricks are bad conductor of heat. They have no serious effect of heat until the temperature during fire rises above 1200 degrees to 1300 degrees. At the time of construction if good quality mortar is used and brick work constructed by skilled mason, brick masonry offers good resistance to fire. See the brick wall still standing here in this photo

Concrete is a bad conductor of heat and an effective material for fire resistant construction. It offers higher resistance to fire than any other material. The actual behavior of concrete in case of fire depends on quality of cement and type of aggregate which form concrete. In case of reinforced and pre-stressed structures, it also depends on the position of steel in concrete. Unfortunately, concrete production emits a lot of green house gas.

Using special designed barrier, such as Pyrotite Technology for the external walls. Or apply fire retardant and fire resistant coatings that can withstand extreme temperatures (up to 2000° Fahrenheit) for an extended time (over two hours) [source]. May be you may consider adding a fire-proof tent at the highest point of your home, see this patent.

Surprisingly, straw bale which has super insulating properties and excellent flame resistance due to lack of internal air channels is also a green and effective choice.

Metal roofs with two layers of fire resistant barrier which withstand burning embers or 'living' roofs [remember to reduce fuel before fire season!].



Blogger Zachary Colbert said...

Good post and great blog.
Are you familiar with the Channel 4 program "Grand Designs"? It often features houses that are environmentally stable and sustainable, but not necessarily fire proof.
I actually discovered your blog while working for the NGO called War on Want and after reading this post thought you might be interested in linking to our new website at
We've got some hard working campaigns running at the moment that are worth your attention. Thanks. Keep up the good blogging.

2:26 am  

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