Copper Sprinklers Offer Habitat Families Fire Protection

May 4, 2011


Habitat for Humanity St. Louis Installs Copper Fire Sprinkler Systems in New Homes

NEW YORK— When Habitat for Humanity St. Louis (HFHSL) identified vacant property just north of downtown, the construction team wanted to build homes that were not only energy efficient but safe for its new tenants.

And with Model Building Codes now requiring new single- and two-family dwellings to be outfitted with sprinkler systems, Habitat chose to go with copper systems for all of its new homes, including the six that were completed this spring.

While state building codes across the country are becoming aware of the life-saving potential of installing fire sprinklers, copper lends itself perfectly for handling the installations.

"Copper is probably the best product to use, period-because it lasts forever," said Scott Usher, the superintendent for Fire Protection Services, the company that installed the sprinkler systems. "Once you put it in and it's done properly it requires almost no maintenance. Copper really is the best way to go when it comes to these types of dwellings."

While some plastic materials are approved for use in residential fire sprinkler systems, they can't be used in exposed locations such as basements, crawlspaces, attics and garages without being protected behind a fire-rated barrier, an additional construction cost. Since copper doesn't burn, doesn't support combustion, and doesn't emit potentially toxic fumes when subjected to fire, it is the safe, smart choice.

"Copper is the ideal choice for sprinkler systems because it's not only lightweight, durable and able to withstand extreme temperatures, it's also easier to work with and install because of its slimmer profile," said Andy Kireta Jr., vice president of building & construction for the Copper Development Association. "You can't put a price on fire safety, and with new homes requiring sprinkler systems, this adds another level of protection for the homeowner and their loved ones."

Copper systems also offer economic advantages, including lower maintenance costs and long-term performance. Copper's high recycled content and limitless recyclability support green construction practices as well.

Through the generous support of local companies and contractors, Habitat was able to secure the materials, services and labor for the project.

For more information about copper sprinkler systems, please visit