A preliminary discussion on selecting active fire protection systems for atria in green or sustainable buildings

C. L. Chow, Wan Ki Chow, H. Y. Yuan

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Sprinkler systems are a common fire protection strategy used in shopping malls, whether there is an atrium or not. Because of the typically high headroom in an atrium, it is often difficult to activate a sprinkler due to a fire at the floor level. Further, flooding the atrium floor with excessive water from a sprinkler can affect evacuation and can cause serious property damage. Sprinkler systems do not satisfy the water conservation criterion for green or sustainable buildings. Alternative systems using less water should be designed for a ‘green or sustainable’ shopping mall with an atrium. The alternative active fire protection systems proposed in this paper are: • Water gun in atrium spaces; • Intelligent fire detection systems in atria; • Water mist fire suppression systems in shops adjacent to an atrium. An atrium in a ‘green or sustainable’ shopping mall is taken as an example. The feasibility of using the above fire protection systems is discussed. The potential advantage of less water use for green or sustainable buildings will be pointed out. Further, designing static smoke exhaust with roof vents for protecting the atrium with minimum use of electric power will be outlined, bearing in mind that a smoke management system is also regarded as an active fire protection system in some countries.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)229-236
Number of pages8
JournalArchitectural Science Review
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2004
Externally publishedYes


  • Atria
  • Fire protection systems
  • Green building
  • Sustainable buildings

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Architecture

Cite this