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

Firestation #3 photo 2 (slcgov)

Did you see the news about Salt Lake City’s grand opening of Fire Station 3 last week?

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

Station 3 is the second Net Zero fire station in the country behind Station No. 14, and Salt Lake City is home to the only two Net Zero energy fire stations in the U.S!

Net Zero means the Station 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.

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.

Station 3 is one example of Salt Lake City’s commitment to sustainability, as well as the 100 percent renewable-energy goal described in our Climate Positive 2040 plan. The thoughtful design features are anticipated to result in long-term environmental and economic benefits for our city and the surrounding areas.

It’s important for municipal governments to lead when it comes to building green.

Salt Lake City is nestled in what is called 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, the 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 reduce the air pollution in Fire Station 3 is the geothermal heating and cooling system. No natural gas for heat is burned during the winter!

Salt Lake buildings and homes contribute nearly 40 percent of the pollution on any given inversion day, so 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 3 and Fire Station 14, we’d eliminate a significant amount of air pollution from valley.

Fire Station 3 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.

Fire Station 3 co2 poster

Here are some key sustainability features of Fire Station 3:

  • The 306 solar panels on the roof (totaling 110+ kW) generate enough electricity to offset 100% of the power consumption of the building. This is enough to power 27 SLC homes annually.
  • SLC Fire Station 3’s energy efficiency will contribute to a reduction of 220 tons of coal being burned per year.
  • This is equivalent to eliminating 450 tons of carbon dioxide from entering our valley’s atmosphere each year.
  • High performance, triple-paned, argon gas-filled glass with ceramic frit (small dots) reduce solar heat gain and improve overall efficiency.
  • SLC Fire Station 3 utilizes a geothermal heating and cooling system which uses the earth’s ambient temperature to heat and cool the building.

Fire Station geothermal poster

  • Energy efficient, fast-acting folding doors help reduce heat loss and require less maintenance.
  • The apparatus bays of the Salt Lake City Fire Station 3 are heated and cooled in innovative methods that dramatically reduce the amount of energy required to heat and cool the apparatus bays.
  • Operable Windows and sliding doors provide natural ventilation and a connection to the outdoors. Windows and doors are tied to position switches that turn off mechanical heating and cooling units to save energy
  • To save water, Fire Station 3 has low-flow plumbing fixtures throughout the Fire Station. In conjunction with water-efficient landscaping, over 120,000 gallons of water is projected to be saved over the course of a year as compared to the water use of typical fixtures and landscaping.
  • Fire station 3 worked closely with the next-door Forest Dale Golf Course to create a bioswale between the two properties. The bioswale native plantings filter the stormwater runoff before it returns to the aquifer below

 

Fire Station 3 is just the latest Salt Lake City municipal building to be built to high performance and sustainability standards. The Public Safety Building was also the first building of its kind to be constructed to Net Zero standards in the U.S.

We’re delighted that our fire crews at Fire Station 3 have a sustainable, efficient, and comfortable space to call home—one that prioritizes environmental resiliency, fiscal responsibility, and public safety.

More Information

Fire Station 3 is located at 2425 S. 900 East in Salt Lake City.

See the full video of the grand opening from SLCTV here.

Sustainability Posters from Blalock & Partners.

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