Solar panel installation is ongoing at Edmonton’s first net-zero carbon fire station. As of Friday, the first of 382 solar panels are on the roof of the Windermere Fire Station in Edmonton.
The facility planning & design director in the City of Edmonton’s integrated infrastructure services department, Shannon Fitzsimmons, stated that it is the first building with a net-zero design and construction.
‘We’re very experienced in designing and building fire stations. We work closely with our partners, and we understand the operational needs of a building like this,’ Fitzsimmons said.
The goal behind the design was to balance the shape of the building with an energy generation capacity. The roof structure allows for the installation of solar panels to generate solar energy. The building has a roof with a south-facing slope, which will house the solar panels for energy generation. For a fire station, the net-zero energy should be as much as the building needs. In 2018, Windermere Fire Station received the Canadian Architect Award of Excellence for its technical and stunning building design.
The design did not stop at solar panels. It went on to include other sustainability approaches like more natural light in the work environment to minimize daylight energy consumption. Also, there are the geothermal innovation( an insulated floor that keeps the heat or cold within the building) and stormwater management landscape innovations. These innovations reduce energy loads, provide a more sustainable workplace quality, and improve visual connections. As firefighters, they require bright visual connections always for safety.
‘To capitalize on the area that we have within site, we dropped 35 boreholes 75 meters down, which allows the exchange of — in the summertime, keep the building cool and in wintertime keep building warm,’ said Jesse Banford, facility infrastructure delivery director with the city.
During construction, the City of Edmonton made it compulsory for the station to obtain LEED Silver certification to meet a 40 percent improved GHG emissions and a 40 percent better energy efficiency than NECB 2011. Also, it required 80kWh per square meter per year for heating needs. The $18 million fire station will serve a new community in Southwest Edmonton, bordered by the Whitemud Creek Ravine and the North Saskatchewan River.
Tiffany Edgecombe, training and logistics deputy fire chief with Edmonton Fire Rescue Services (EFRS), described the building project as thrilling.
‘We’re thrilled for the opportunity to live and operate out of the city’s first net-zero building, and it’s getting close. What it’s allowing is a greater coverage area, increased ability to meet our service level targets in the neighborhood.’
The Windermere fire station will begin operation by the spring of 2023.
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