I am sharing an article published in Mumbai Mirror on 11th April with contribution by Sandeep Goswami, an energy efficient building and renewable energy consultant.
Mumbai Mirror; 11th April 2011
The silvery-hazy buildings with square-mirrored façades are on the fire department’s radar. The Mumbai Fire Brigade has said it will not give the fire safety nod to upcoming glass façade buildings. The department plans to include this condition in the revised Fire Act as such buildings pose a huge safety risk and difficulty in fighting a fire in such buildings.
On Friday afternoon, a fire broke out in a six-storeyed glass façade building in Kalina. The firemen said it was difficult to fight the blaze due to the building’s mural structure as smoke clouded the interior in the absence of any blowers.
“We have been raising this issue but environmentalists have supported it saying such buildings are environment-friendly as they allowed natural light to steam into the building,” said Chief Fire Officer Uday Tatkare.
“Such buildings have no outlet for smoke to filter out. People trapped inside suffocate and such situations cause a stampede as emergency exit signage is not visible.”
During last week’s blaze, firemen were left with the sole option of breaking down the toughened glass exterior, resulting in loss of time.
As per norms, if a building with glass façade needs to have foolproof fire resistant system. This comprises water drenchers at every 10 mt of height.
“The drenchers create water curtains if the sensors detect fire or smoke,” said a senior fire official.
Fire officials say that developers claim that these buildings are equipped with modern fire-fighting systems but they lack outlets for smoke. “Very few buildings sport a system to exhaust smoke automatically,” said the official.
Proper use is must
Sandeep Goswami, energy efficient building design and renewable energy consultant said that most glass facade buildings must be designed correctly to suit environmental factors and there should be judicious use of glass.
Presently very few buildings have been designed correctly, so they are doing more damage to the environment in the form of heat island effect, bird hits and bad indoor air quality.
“Since India is a hot country, naturally glass boxes would heat up more and thus require more energy to air-condition the building,” said Goswami.
Real Estate professionals looking for expert advice on energy efficient building design can contact Sandeep at firstname.lastname@example.org