The U.S. Department of Homeland Security is funding a three-year project through the Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) aimed at identifying and reducing potential risks posed by "green" elements in newer buildings. The $1 million project is a follow-up to the 2012 report commissioned by the Fire Protection Research Foundation that identified dozens of these concerns and how research could pinpoint mitigation tactics.
In his initial research, Brian Meacham, associate professor of fire protection engineering at WPI, compiled a list of 78 green building features and construction elements that could pose risks to firefighters and occupants. Lightweight engineered lumber, for instance, uses less material and could present risks during fires for its propensity to collapse more quickly than conventional timber construction.
For more information on the new research, check out NFPA's Fire Sprinkler Initiative blog.