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Fire Station 21 LEED - Platinum Building
Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Fire Station 21 LEED-Platinum Building

Colorado Springs Fire Department's new Station 21 positions the department as a leader in the fire service industry and places the city of Colorado Springs in good company with other sustainability-leading cities in the United States and around the world. Designed by award-winning architectural firm Fennell Group, the new facility is actually "first" in several categories. It is designed as the first LEED-platinum building in the city. LEED, an acronym for the U.S. Green Building Council's "Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design", is essentially a checklist for using systems, processes, and materials that create highly efficient, environmentally responsible, healthier facilities.

There are numerous benefits to the public from designing highly efficient buildings like Station 21. The most obvious is the substantial reduction of utility costs over the life of the building. Compared to the most recent station constructed by the city, the new Station 21 is projected to save over 60% in energy and utility costs over its lifespan, and this energy model is based on current utility rates. As utility rates increase, savings will increase proportionally. Energy savings are generated primarily by installing a new kind of mechanical heating and cooling system. Called a "geo-exchange" or "ground-source heat pump" system, this method of cooling and heating circulates fluid through tubing buried below the Earth's surface and uses the Earth as a heat sink. The result is a system that does not use natural gas, but efficiently uses energy generated by solar panels to power small circulatingpumps.

Solar photovoltaic or "PV" panels are placed on the roof to generate much of the electricity that the station needs. Any additional electricity will come from wind power. The fire department has made an agreement with Colorado Springs Utilities to assign some of its electricity needs for the new station to be generated by wind power. Called "renewable-energy credits" or "RECs," these units of power are factored into the U.S. Green Building Council's program to help attain the Platinum status.

Another important energy-saving features is the use of passive heating and cooling systems. Several brick walls are provided on the building interiors at a very economical cost. These walls absorb the sun's heat during the winter and the heat is radiated back into the interior spaces so that there is less of a need for mechanical heating. An opposite process happens in the summer. Shading devices are provided on the exterior and are positioned so that there is no direct solar gain through any window during the air-conditioning season. Shades are angled to block summer sun but to allow the winter sun to pass through the glass windows. The passive systems also provide an abundance of day lighting, reducing the need for artificial lighting which further reduces the electricity requirements of the station.

According to El Paso County (EPC) Health Department officials, Colorado Springs Fire Station 21 will be the first building in El Paso County to have an approved grey-water system. EPC leaders also report that this is the first large building in the state of Colorado to have such an approved system. Essentially, the building will process water from showers and from the laundry's washing machines and will direct it as irrigation to community gardens on the south side of the site. While the water is not suitable for drinking, it is safe and clean for plants. This method of irrigating plants is becoming very popular in other parts of the nation.

Fire Station 21 represents an "old firehouse" design concept. It is basically a 2-story building with about 5,990 square feet on each floor. Work areas and living quarters are located on the upper level and apparatus bays are on the lower level. Firefighters can access the bays quickly when an alarm is sound by using fire poles or stairways to reach the fire trucks below. The apparatus bays are also equipped with bi-folding vertical-hinged doors. Over the life of the facility having these doors will save substantial dollars on operations and maintenance costs.

The new Station 21 designed by Fennell Group is a model of resource management and energy efficiency and at the same time creates streamlined functionality for firefighting operations. The City of Colorado Springs and the Colorado Springs Fire Department will enjoy lower utility bills, lower maintenance costs, and highly-efficient operations for many years to come.

Come Join Us!

Our Grand Opening Celebration is open to the public.


When: Thursday, August 29, 2013

Time: 10:30am

Where: CSFD Station #21

           7320 Dublin Blvd.  

           Colorado Springs, CO  80923