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Proposal

first draft

Roof Proof

Table of Contents

Abstract

Introduction

Background/History

Description of Product

Materials

Budget

Conclusion

References

Abstract

Forest fire have become a more frequent problem in America, specifically in California. 2018 was the year that 459,000 acres of land was demolished- the biggest wildfire the state had ever seen. They can be extremely devastating, burning down complete homes and neighborhoods, leaving only ash in its path. Currently there are no direct technologies that exist to prevent forest fires from destroying homes. The only action that exists is to take preventative measures such as water sprinklers, cleaning your gutters, keeping your grass short, and planting trees a certain distance apart. Once one ember falls on your roof it can be detrimental to your home and lead to your whole home catching fire. Roof Proof is a revolutionary technology that would be installed on your roof to sense extreme heat and release retardant material to create a safe blanket around your home.

INTRODUCTION

Forest fires have been occurring in California, completely ruining neighborhoods and devastating families. As stated in the California fire plan, “Recent trends have shown an increase in the number of ignitions, area burned, and impacts to ecosystems.“ **CITATION**. While big companies such as the Red Cross try to share tips for forest fire prevention, there is currently no strategy that can truly stop a forest fire. The Red Cross, like many other organizations, claim the best way to protect your home is by taking preventative measures such as keeping space between trees and bushes, keeping grass within a certain length, and pruning trees **REDCROSS CITATION**. One missing shingle in a roof can cause your whole house to burn. Once an ember infiltrates a weak point of your home the results can be devastating **citylab citation***. There currently is no technology that is being marketed to combat the forest fires ruining homes. This is the driving force behind roof proof. Completely changing an old roof could be costly and inconvenient, especially during seasons when fires are prone to happening. The Roof Proof would be an easy installation at a price far lower than changing your roof and far more effective than how you plant your bushes or how often you clean your gutter.

BACKGROUND/HISTORY

There is nothing currently in the market that can be installed on roofs of homes or buildings that is similar to Roof Proof. This design specifically works with heat sensors which only turns on the sprinklers if there is heat detected. This makes the product efficient and specific because it is focused primarily on forest fires in areas that desperately need protection.

            An invention that is similar to Roof Proof is installing sprinklers on a roof that sprays water on a time-clock. The product emphasizes that it is vital for the sprinklers to be in “continual operation for 2 or more hours prior to the arrival of the fire”(Roof-top Sprinkler Systems, n.d.). Anything less than one hour would decrease the chance of the product being a successful defense of the home. This product is not entirely efficient because it can cause a huge waste of water, which is detrimental to California where there are many water droughts. This product can be seen as counteractive because the cause of the forest fires are a lack of water and spontaneous combustion of dry fuel in the first place. We should be conserving water as much as possible in areas where forest fires are prevalent.

            There are many methods on multiple databases that explain what you can do to prevent a fire from happening in the first place which include safety precautions such as do not burn anything if it is too windy, do not smoke near a forest, clear out gutters, and keeping grass short. While these are all preventative measures to stop fires from igniting or getting worse, these methods will not stop the fire from spreading into your home when an ember has fallen on the roof. In a wildfire event, most structures are lost due to ignition by flying embers. With our product, you do not have to lose your house.

DESCRIPTION OF PRODUCT

            Roof Proof will be a series of sensors hooked up to various sprinklers and other release systems. Since one ember can cause a home to ignite, heat sensors will be installed all around the roof to monitor the temperature of the roof. If it exceeds a certain limit ***find a good limit*** then the sprinkler and release systems will be triggered to release the flame retardant. This will not only soothe the excessive heat and put out the ember, but will also create a safety blanket around the home in case a forest fire is quickly approaching the home.

            The sensors will be placed _ feet away from each other and depending on the size of the roof, the number of sensors will be different for each installation.

Currently a flame retardant called Phos-Chek is being used for fire prevention. It comes as a powder or as a liquid and can be spread around wildlife to help manage and combat fires. We plan to incorporate this formula in its various forms to help combat fires. We will fill the sprinkler systems with the liquid form of Phos-Chek instead of water. This Phos-Chek will need to be refilled from the pump every time an incident occurs. The pipes will contain _ amount of Phos- Check per sprinkler, so the larger the roof, the more powder or liquid is necessary to purchase.

 The installation consists of adding a pipe on each column of the house. Through the column, the liquid/powder will reach the sprinkler. We will attach an automatic heat sensor to the roof of the building. This sensor is a composite detector. In addition to the role the existing fire sensor, a carbon monoxide sensor is added to sensors that detect accurate temperature and smoke, which can protect human life from colorless, odorless carbon monoxide poisoning.  When if the heat sensor detects a fire on the roof, the sprinklers will automatically spray the materials. And the substance in the pipe will use two things: carbon dioxide and ammonium monoxide. These are for different purposes. First of all, most buildings will use carbon dioxide. This is available for most fires and if you spray them, there will be loss and no residue. So, it is used a lot in museums and art galleries. However, as there are concerns about suffocation, the apartment will use ammonium monoxide. Unlike carbon dioxide, powder remains intact after spray, but there is no risk of suffocation, so this would be more suitable for apartments.  And if you detect heat, you put pressure on the base of the column and these objects will climb up the column. Then, when you reach the sprinkler, the materials will be sprayed automatically and turn off the fire.

Materials

First of all, each pipe will be made of PVC(polyvinylchloride). Because carbon dioxide and ammonium phosphate monobasic must reach the sprinkler through the pipe, PVC pipes will better than steel pipes or other pipes.  And the sensor weighs 5.5 ounces, has a diameter of 4 inches, and has a detection radius of 200 feet. The radius is wide, so it will be able to detect all the heat and smoke around it even with one installation. And we will install a tank to store carbon dioxide and ammonium phosphate monobasic underground. The size of this underground storage tank will vary slightly depending on the size of the building. Each pipe is connected to an underground storage tank. And the top of the pipe is connected with sprinkler. Therefore, there should be the same number of sprinklers as the pipes.

Budget

The materials include:

 Figure 1,2,3 and 4. In order from left and right:

(Figure 1 = high sensitivity smoke detection)

(Figure 2 = sprinkler head)

(Figure 3 = pipe)

(Figure 4 = underground storage tank)

Budget items and cost

  1. Development and research = $100,000
  2. Test = $8,000
  3. Product certification = $200,000
  4. Installation = $10,000
  5. Carbon dioxide = $250 per 18 gallons.
  6. ammonium phosphate monobasic = $150 per 66 pounds
  7. high sensitivity smoke detection = $300

The development and research of sensors will cost about $100,000, followed by about $200,000 to build and certify products. And the test will cost about $8,000. The actual equipment needed to make roof proof will add up to around $ 10,000. The following are specific details about the installation. There are two materials that go into the building, so the budget will vary slightly depending on which building you are installing. Also, the installation fee will vary slightly depending on the height and size of the building. The higher the building, the more pipes it will need, and the larger the roof of the building, the more sprinkler heads it will need. In conclusion, the total cost of this project will be about half a million dollars.

Conclusion

Forest fires can occur both naturally and artificially. Dry climate, lightning, volcanic eruption.  There major natural causes of wildfire ignitions exist. And humans by the negligence of the forest fires can occur. Forests turn to ashes in an instant when there is a forest fire. Restoring it again requires a huge amount of effort and cost over a long period of 40 to 100 years. No matter how hard we try, it is hard to prevent wildfires. So we have to prepare for the fire. We must protect our precious house and our lives in case of a wildfire. And when a forest fire breaks out, it’s huge to avoid properties. In comparison, it would be cheaper and more profitable to install roof proof. As a result, we can reduce the loss of life and property.  Essentially, our project can’t stop wildfires from happening, but at least we can protect something valuable from them.

Reference

  1. “Wildfire Prevention Strategies” . National Wildfire Coordinating Group. March 1998. p. 17. Archived from the original  on 9 December 2008. Retrieved 3 December 2008.

Final draft

Writing for Engineers Proposal

Yaas Azmoudeh, Kayla Pena, Haneul Jang

Abstract

Forest fires have become a frequent problem in America, specifically in California. 2018 became the year of the biggest wildfire the state had ever seen- 490,000 acres of land were demolished. Forest fires can be extremely devastating, burning down complete homes and neighborhoods, leaving only ash in its path. Currently there are no direct technologies that exist to prevent forest fires from destroying homes. The only action that exists is to take preventative measures such as water sprinklers, cleaning your gutters, keeping your grass short, and planting trees a certain distance apart. Once one ember falls on your roof it can be detrimental to your home and lead to your whole home catching fire. Roof Proof is a revolutionary technology that would be installed on your roof as sensor sprinklers connected to the pump on the side of the home to detect extreme heat and release retardant material to create a safe blanket around the home. This technology will be targeted towards homes that are in areas that face problems with forest fires specifically.

What is the problem?

Forest fires have been occurring more and more in states such as California, with monstrous effects of completely ruining neighborhoods and devastating families. As stated in the California fire plan, “Recent trends have shown an increase in the number of ignitions, area burned, and impacts to ecosystems.“ 15 of the 20 of the largest forest fires in California have occured since 2000 (Hannigan & Shew, 2018). Seen from Figure 1 and 2, 2018 was the year where the most casualties occurred and the highest number of acres were demolished by the forest fires.

Acres demolished by forest fires                           Casualties from forest fires

Figure 1: Image from Calsource                                                 Figure 2: Image from Calsource

Reasons behind the increase in forest fires in 2018 may be from climate change and the dryness of the land. One missing shingle in a roof can cause a whole house to burn. Once an ember infiltrates a weak point of your home the results can be devastating (Faith Kearns Feed Faith Kearns & California Institute for Water Resources, 2017). Figure 3 below is a map of California and the forest fires. The yellow dots signify forest fires from before 1950 and the redder darker dots signify the most recent forest fires. It is evident that there have been an extreme increase in the number of forest fires as the entire area of California looks mostly red.

Figure 3:Image from California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection and the U.S. Geological Survey

(The old style roof proof)

What is the current state of fire prevention in California?

            An invention that is similar to Roof Proof is installing sprinklers on a roof that sprays water on a time-clock. The product emphasizes that it is vital for the sprinklers to be in “continual operation for 2 or more hours prior to the arrival of the fire”(Rooftop Sprinkler Systems, n.d.). Anything less than one hour would decrease the chance of the product being a successful defense of the home. This product is not entirely efficient because it can cause a huge waste of water, which is detrimental to California where there are many water droughts. This product can be seen as counteractive because the cause of the forest fires are a lack of water and spontaneous combustion of dry fuel in the first place. We should be conserving water as much as possible in areas where forest fires are prevalent.

            Another method of fire prevention that is specific for homes is sprinklers that are installed inside the home. Fire sprinklers are useful for fires that start inside the home, but can do minimal help for fires that begin in forests and spread from the roof of the home.

            A method that works specifically for forest fires are air tankers that often “used to drop thousands of gallons of water and retardant onto fires. The red stuff that you often see being dropped from planes and helicopters is a chemical retardant that contains phosphate fertilizer, which helps to slow and cool down the fire (Bonser, 2001). Although this is the method used to stop forest fires and is proven effective, it does not directly help homes that may already be demolished by the time the air tank sprays over.

(Figure 4: releasing Phos Chek (retrieved from PhosChek.com)

Why will Roof Proof work?

While big companies such as the Red Cross try to share tips for forest fire prevention, there is currently no strategy that can truly stop a forest fire. The Red Cross, like many other organizations, claim the best way to protect your home is by taking preventative measures such as keeping space between trees and bushes, keeping grass within a certain length, and pruning trees (Prevent Wildfires, n.d.). One missing shingle in a roof can cause your whole house to burn. Once an ember infiltrates a weak point of your home the results can be devastating (Faith Kearns Feed Faith Kearns & California Institute for Water Resources, 2017). There currently is no technology that is being marketed to combat the forest fires ruining homes beside water sprinklers. This is the driving force behind roof proof. Completely changing an old roof could be costly and inconvenient, especially during seasons when fires are prone to happening. The Roof Proof would be an easier installation at a price far lower than changing your roof and far more effective than how you plant your bushes or how often you clean your gutter. There is nothing currently on the market that can be installed on roofs of homes or buildings that is similar to Roof Proof. This design specifically works with heat sensors which only turns on the sprinklers if there is heat detected. This makes the product efficient and specific because it is focused primarily on forest fires in areas that desperately need protection.

How will Roof Proof Work?

Currently a flame retardant called Phos-Chek is being used for fire prevention. It comes as a powder or as a liquid and can be spread around wildlife to help manage and combat fires (“Fire Retardant – Phos-Chek”). We plan to incorporate this formula in its various forms to help combat forest fires that spread to residential areas. We will fill the sprinkler systems with the liquid form of Phos-Chek instead of water. The pipes will be connected to an underground storage system which will allow for a low maintenance system.

The mechanism that Roof Proof will be based on is a wet pipe fire sprinkler system. A wet pipe system consists of small steel pipes constantly filled with water. The water is released upon the built in heat sensor being activated. The heat sensors will be filled with a glycerin base that will expand at the temperature rises. Once the temperature reaches between 135 and 165 degrees Fahrenheit the glass trigger will shatter from the expansion of the glycerin base and this will trigger sprinkler systems to release the Phos-Chek (Fisher, 2010).Contrary to popular belief, The heat sensors aren’t triggered by smoke, but by an elevated temperature. The wet pipe system is chosen over the dry pipe system which requires two triggers because it has a faster reaction time and is more efficient (Fisher, 2010).

The Roof Proof will fill this system with powder Phos-Chek instead of the traditional water. When using water there is risk that the house could experience extreme water damage as opposed to using Phos-Chek which will leave a layer of powder. This layer of Phos-Chek can easily be cleaned. Since one ember can cause a home to ignite, heat sensors will be installed all around the roof to monitor the temperature of the roof. This will not only soothe the excessive heat and put out the ember, but will also create a safety blanket around the home in case a forest fire is quickly approaching the home. The sensors will be placed 15 square feet away from each other and depending on the size of the roof, the number of sensors will be different for each installation (Kauffman Co, 2015).

How will Roof Proof be installed and marketed?

            The installation of each Roof Proof will be unique for every home and roof. The installation will be modified for the different sizes and slopes of roofs. The general layout shown in diagram 2 will be the basis for most installations. If the roof has sloping pipes with bends will be used to compensate to ensure the pipes have a consistent flow.  The installation consists of adding a pipe running from an underground storage tank to the roof along one side of the house as shown in diagram 1. The pipes will be arranged in one big interconnected system so that it only has to be connected to the storage by one pipe. We will attach the automatic heat sensors to the roof of the building in a staggered layout as shown in diagram 2.

As you saw in the above data, there was a lot of damage from the wildfire. Therefore, We think this roof proof is really necessary. This roof proof can be additionally installed in existing apartments. And if we install roof proof in the building that is going to be built now, we will able to keep our house safe from fire. Notre Dame Cathedral was partially burned down by the fire. Not only houses, but also cultural heritage, famous building and art piece are often burned. This roof proof can be installed in various museum art gallery cultural heritage to reduce damage.

Materials

Each pipe is going to use a pipe. Because Phos-Chek must reach the sprinkler through the pipe, wet pipes made of steel, shown in figure 5, will be ideal.  The sensors in the sprinkler head, depicted in figure 6,  weigh 5.5 ounces, has a diameter of 4 inches, and has a detection radius of 15 feet.

Figure 5: Steel pipes used for the Roof Proof  
Figure 6:Sprinkler head and internal heat sensor

If the building has a large area, more sensors will need to be installed. The Roof Proof requires an underground storage tank to be installed. Figure 7 shows what the underground system will resemble. The size of this underground storage tank will vary slightly depending on the size of the building.

Figure 7 (left): The storage container that will hold the Phos-Chek.

Budget

Budget items and cost

1.         Development and research = $100,000

2.         Test = $8,000

3.         Product certification = $200,000

4.         Installation = $10,000

5.         Phos-Chek = $ 2 per gallon

6.         High sensitivity smoke detection = $300

The development and research of sensors will cost about $100,000, followed by about $200,000 to build and certify products. And the test will cost about $8,000. The actual equipment needed to make roof proof will add up to around $10,000. The following are specific details about the installation. There is Phos-Chek that go into the building, so the budget will vary slightly depending on which building you are installing. Also, the installation fee will vary slightly depending on the height and size of the building. The higher the building, the more pipes it will need, and the larger the roof of the building, the more sprinkler heads it will need. In conclusion, the total cost of this project will be about half a million dollars.

Conclusion

Forest fires can occur both naturally and artificially. Dry climate, lightning, volcanic eruption.  There major natural causes of wildfire ignitions exist. And humans by the negligence of the forest fires can occur. Forests turn to ashes in an instant when there is a forest fire. Restoring it again requires a huge amount of effort and cost over a long period of 40 to 100 years. No matter how hard we try, it is hard to prevent wildfires. So we have to prepare for the fire. We must protect our precious house and our lives in case of a wildfire. And when a forest fire breaks out, it’s huge to avoid properties. In comparison, it would be cheaper and more profitable to install roof proof. As a result, we can reduce the loss of life and property.  Essentially, our project can’t stop wildfires from happening, but at least we can protect something valuable from them.

Reference

Fisher, D. (2010, August 31). How Fire Sprinkler Systems Work. Retrieved from https://home.howstuffworks.com/home-improvement/household-safety/fire-sprinker-system2.htm

Hannigan, E., & Shew, D. (2018, August 22). 2018 STRATEGIC FIRE PLAN FOR CALIFORNIA. Retrieved from http://cdfdata.fire.ca.gov/pub/fireplan/fpupload/fpppdf1614.pdf

Fire Sprinkler Head Location and Coverage. (2015, July 23). Retrieved from https://www.kauffmanco.net/blog/fire-sprinkler-locations/

Prevent Wildfires. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.redcross.org/get-help/how-to-prepare-for-emergencies/types-of-emergencies/wildfire/how-to-prevent-wildfires.html

Faith Kearns Feed Faith Kearns, & California Institute for Water Resources. (2017, December 11). Fire Damage to California’s Homes Isn’t as Random as It Seems. Retrieved from https://www.citylab.com/environment/2017/12/fire-damage-to-californias-homes-isnt-as-random-as-it-seems/548069/

Fire Retardant – Phos-Chek. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://phoschek.com/product-class/fire-retardant-for-wildland/

    “Wildfire Prevention Strategies” . National Wildfire Coordinating Group. March 1998. p. 17. Archived from the original  on 9 December 2008. Retrieved 3 December 2008.

     Scott, A (2000). “The Pre-Quaternary history of fire”. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology. 164 (1–4): 281–329.

Kevin Bonsor “How Wildfires Work” 29 May 2001.

HowStuffWorks.com. <https://science.howstuffworks.com/nature/natural-disasters/wildfire.htm> 17 April 2019

Self-assessment

It took our team a week to decide the topic. It’s always the most important and time-consuming. At first I thought about the automatic attendance checker, and we talked other opinions. Finally, we decided to do the roof proof. Kayla first suggested this idea. I had no idea that there were so many wildfires in California. In this project, I learned that there are many wildfires and that many people are damaged by them. So I thought it was good to choose this topic. I wish we could let others know about this subject. The difficult part of this project is background knowledge. I had no idea which part of the United States was prone to wildfires and how much damage they caused. Then, I read many articles and materials. Writing was really hard because I had no background knowledge. The other team members wrote the background and the history, and I got a different part. We made up for each other’s shortcomings. I really appreciate the team. My teammates fixed my grammar and flow. If this was a project that I was doing alone, it would have been harder. This project was not to investigate what was already here, but to make new products for us. It was hard to explain how it worked. Technically, it was important to explain it, and it was important that it worked effectively. This project was the most difficult assignment but I think it was the most fun. I learned a lot of cooperation and consideration from this project.oH

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