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Salt Lake City Opens the First Net Zero Fire Station in the Country

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Did you see the news about Salt Lake City’s grand opening of Fire Station 14 earlier this month?

We are thrilled our fire crews have a new home base from which to work, rest, and recover.

This building is also notable for its sustainability features.

It’s not just a model for the state of Utah, but for the country. In fact, Fire Station 14 is the first Net Zero energy fire station in the U.S!

This means it will produce as much energy as it consumes on an annual basis. It’s also expected to become certified as LEED Gold, which means it meets a range of holistic sustainability benchmarks, including material management, waste diversion, water conservation, energy efficiency, renewable energy, and more.

Fire Station 1

Our vision, as described in the Climate Positive 2040 plan, is to power all of Salt Lake City’s government operations and eventually the whole community with net-100% clean electricity. This station is one example of doing that on a smaller scale.

In addition, Salt Lake City’s internal Comprehensive Sustainability Policy (6.01.02) specifies that all new municipal construction should be evaluated to meet Net Zero energy standards (if over 10,000 square feet), as well as LEED Gold.

It’s important for municipal governments to lead out when it comes to building green. Salt Lake City is nestled in what literally amounts to a “capped airshed” during the winter. Our mountain geography, combined with high pressure systems, mean that we gain the notorious distinction some winter days of having the worst air quality in the country.

During inversions, pollution doubles every day. All of the emissions from our cars, buildings, homes, restaurants, small businesses, and industry stay in the air until a weather system moves through and breaks up the inversion.

One of the technologies that reduces the air pollution in Fire Station 14 is the geothermal heating and cooling system. No natural gas for heat is burned during the winter!

Because our buildings and homes contribute nearly 40 percent of the pollution on any given inversion day, they’re the next piece of “low-hanging fruit” when it comes to improving valley air quality. If all of our new buildings along the Wasatch Front were built to the same standards as Fire Station 14, we’d significantly improve air quality.

Fire Station 14 is a demonstration of what is possible. Constructing a low-pollution building and achieving a low-carbon future is not something to do later. We can do it now.

Solar

Here are some key sustainability features of Fire Station 14:

  • The 300 solar panels on the roof (totaling 108 kW) generate enough electricity to offset 100% of the power consumption of the building. This is enough to power 27 SLC homes annually.
  • High performance, triple-paned, argon gas-filled glass with ceramic frit (small dots) reduce solar heat gain and improve overall efficiency.
  • Electrical systems were thoughtfully designed to conserve energy. From LED lighting and occupancy sensors to an in-depth study of plug loads and appliance selections, efficiency was sought out in all phases of design.
  • The apparatus bays were designed to avoid excess energy use through the implementation of “passive” cooling via shading and high-performance glass in conjunction with high-speed fans.
  • Heating is delivered to the apparatus bays by a radiant floor system tied to the geothermal heat.
  • Contact switches turn off the mechanical heating and cooling units when a window or door is open in the respective space to avoid wasting energy.
  • Energy efficient, fast-acting folding doors help reduce heat loss and require less maintenance.
  • The walls achieved an r-value of R-34 and the roof achieved R-60.
  • Just on efficiency alone, Fire Station 14 is projected to be five times more energy efficient than a typical fire station, contributing to a carbon emission reduction of nearly 902,000 pounds of carbon per year.
  • To save water, Fire Station 14 incorporates low-flow plumbing fixtures, xeriscaping, and drought-tolerant plantings. Water use is expected to be reduced by 20% for plumbing fixtures and 50% for landscaping from the typical baseline.

 

Fire Station 14 is just the latest Salt Lake City municipal building to be built to high performance and sustainability standards. The Public Safety Building was the first building of its kind to be constructed to Net Zero standards in the U.S.

We’re also excited to debut the new Fire Station 3 in Sugar House later this year. It will be the second Net Zero fire station in the country, after 14.

We’re delighted that our fire crews at No. 14 have a sustainable, efficient, and comfortable space to call home—one that prioritizes environmental resiliency, fiscal responsibility, and public safety.  In the end, those ideals are all connected.

More Information

Fire Station 14 is located at 1285 S 3800 W in Salt Lake City.

See the full sustainability brochure from architects Blalock & Partners.

See video highlights on the grand opening from SLCTV here.

View Fire Department press release.

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