Fire stations of the world: Feuerwehr Heidelberg: Neue Feuerwache Fire Station in Heidelberg, Germany
The Neue Feuerwache is the first fire station in Germany to be constructed to ‘passive house’ standards. It sets new standards in design, energy efficiency and eco-friendliness in general. Heidelberg’s fire service moved into the new station in 2007. The Neue Feuerwache consists of a vehicle hall (machine bay) with parking for 30 emergency vehicles, as well as workshops and a storage area. The building has large folding doors on three sides. The interior is divided into three colour-coded zones: Orange denotes the operational areas, the green zone contains the rest and relaxation areas and the training rooms and offices can be found in the blue zone.
Photovoltaic panels on the roof and south-facing facade of the building generate environmentally-friendly electricity.
Professional fire fighters work around the clock in the Neue Feuerwache. Heidelberg Fire Brigade, established since 1946, employs more than 100 people, while the city’s voluntary fire service numbers roughly a further 300 men and women. Every year, Heidelberg’s fire brigade is deployed an average of 2 300 times. Fire fighters are called out for some 1 000 fires and fire alarms, as well as providing technical assistance in a further 1 300 emergency situations.
Much has changed since the professional fire brigade was founded over 70 years ago. The urban area and the population are growing, research facilities are emerging and are presenting new operational challenges, fire fighting technology and the operational procedures have changed significantly.
116 officers are currently on duty in three guard departments and are on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
In addition to the classic fire service business, the extinguishing of fires or technical assistance such as in traffic accidents, the emergency officers are also entrusted with the maintenance of vehicles and equipment.
Information about energy conservation and climate change mitigation
The ‘passive house’ standard was originally developed for residential buildings but its principles can also be applied to non-residential buildings, provided that the users’ specific needs are taken into account. The new fire station of Heidelberg’s professional fire brigade was the first in the world to be built to the passive-house standard. Since then, two more passive-house fire stations have been built in the Heidelberg districts of Wieblingen and Pfaffengrund, for the city’s voluntary fire services. Other local authorities have now followed Heidelberg’s lead.
Different parts of a fire station need to be kept at different temperatures. In the ‘Neue Feuerwache,’ this is made possible by high-performance thermal insulation in the walls and floors between the different temperature zones. In all of the functional rooms, namely the vehicle halls, training areas and workshops on the ground and basement levels, the room temperature is kept much lower than in the offices and common rooms. These areas also have their own, separate ventilation systems.
Part of the fire station’s electricity needs are met by solar power, supplied by photovoltaic modules on the south-facing facade of the hose tower and on the station’s green roof.
Sources: Berufsfeuerwehr Heidelberg, Germany