Fire Safety Week 2021 - WEBINAR #3

Energy transition and fire safety
|| Wednesday, December 1st

09.00–09.10 Opening address
09.10–10.50 Session I – Electrical safety: a prerequisite in the context of the energy transition
10.50–11.00 Break
11.00–12.40 Session II – Fire safety competency to support the renovation wave
12.40–15.00 Break
15.00–16.00 Political discussion
16.00–17.15 Session III – New fire challenges of green energy in buildings

Session I – Electrical safety: a prerequisite in the context of the energy transition

The fastest route to decarbonisation and the most efficient solution to enable the Energy Transition is electricity. However, as evaluated by FEEDS, the current status of domestic electrical installations in Europe is worrying: 30% of domestic fires have an electrical source and 50% of accidental domestic fires have an electrical source. In this context, electrical safety can be considered as a key prerequisite for the Energy Transition. This strong concern can be addressed by Member States (MS) through inspections. Most of MS have already a primary electrical inspection but only some of them have a regular electrical inspection regime in place. While safety has been recommended by the Commission on building renovation, only a few MS have included this aspect into their Long Term Renovation Strategy. The Energy Performance in Buildings Directive (EPBD) is a key opportunity to act in a timely manner by implementing adequate recommendations that will lay the foundations for a safe transition: the fire safety objective is included in the EPBD, and the regular inspection of electrical installations should be a priority. The session hosted by FEEDS and its members will introduce key data related to electrical safety. It will also be the occasion to learn more about MS startegies. Some of them will explain how they adress the issue of electrical safety through inspection regimes while some other will explain what they intend to do. Then, the opportunity to act at European level will be studied with EPBD as main target in the perspective of its ongoing revision.

Session II – Fire safety competency to support the renovation wave
The ongoing energy transition brings a stream of innovation and novelty. The building and construction ecosystem is not exempt, and the challenges brought about by such changes are unprecedented. The call from the regulators and policymakers for an aesthetic, inclusive, energy-efficient and sustainably built environment leads architects, contractors and industries to innovate, create new processes and implement new concepts.

Modern building designs and new technologies can induce new fire risks. Performance-based design methods can support the evolution of the building stock while mitigating fire damages. Fire safety has to be a prerequisite to any sustainability considerations for the buildings in which people live and work. The evolution is already happening, fire safety must come along.

During this webinar, speakers will demonstrate how fire safety is addressed with performance-based design methods.
Performance-based design is an effective way to ensure that construction methods adapt to the technical/fire complexity of modern buildings (renovations and new builds). It provides a fire safety level based on the holistic performance of the whole building as a system rather than on separate elements. The European Commission’s Joint Research Centre will present the outcomes of its survey about the implementation of fire engineering approaches conducted in MSs. Speakers will also address the importance of supporting fire safety engineering professions. They will explain why such promotion is essential to prevent a skills shortage that could delay or block the evolution of society’s current and future way of living.

Political discussion
How can the upcoming revision to the EPBD be used as an opportunity to ensure fire safety given that it is an inseparable part of the energy transition process? The European Fire Safety Action Plan drafted by EuroFSA identified the need to develop fire safety knowledge and competency to address the fire risks in buildings associated with new forms of energy. The Action Plan also recommends ensuring that electrical installations are regularly inspected.
Which concrete recommendations can be included into the revised EPBD for this purpose?

Ms Theresa Griffin, former Member of the European Parliament, will moderate the panel discussion in the presence of Members of the European Parliament, European Commission officials and speakers from the sessions of the day.

Session III – New fire challenges of green energy in buildings
This online workshop will look at the new fire safety risks related to photovoltaic installations, battery storage, electric vehicle charging, new energy control and monitoring systems, and at how standards for fire performance can reduce these risks. Questions asked will include adaptation of fire safety and building standards and regulations to continue to improve fire safety of new energy systems, challenges for fire fighters, research and knowledge needs and opportunities in EU Horizon Europe. Speakers will be policy makers, insurers, fire test and research safety experts and companies producing renewable energy equipment, including examples of fire tests of new energy installations and fire case studies.

This event will be both online and live (interlinked) in the AMI Fire Resistance in Plastics Conference, Düsseldorf.