Sprinkler research aims to improve bushfire defences

Research on the effectiveness of external sprinkler systems during bushfires may have consequences for insurance premiums in fire-prone regions. Student Alan Green’s PhD thesis research is part of a project focused on retrofitting buildings with external sprinkler systems to mitigate against bushfires. Preliminary computer simulations indicate some systems may waste up to 50% of the water they spray, he told insuranceNEWS.com.au. He hopes the insurance industry, fire services, and engineers and physicists are interested in his research, which could be incorporated into national construction codes. The findings could bring down insurance premiums, he says. There have been no studies of sprinkler system practices, and there is anecdotal evidence that most people use common garden sprinklers around their house, Mr Green told insuranceNEWS.com.au Current guidance on designing external sprinkler systems is limited by a lack of scientific knowledge, he says. He hopes other researchers can use his methods to compare the performance of different systems in strong winds and high temperatures. Mr Green presented his findings to the Bushfire and Natural Hazards Co-operative Research Centre last month. 

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