Fire stations of the world: Vancouver Fire Hall No 17, Canada
Vancouver Fire Hall No 17 is the first fire hall in Canada to earn the Zero Carbon Building (ZCB) design certification and the first project to be certified in British Columbia. When complete, which is expected to be mid-2021, it will offer a 99,67 percent reduction in operational carbon emissions compared to the existing Fire Hall 17. The station replaces the original fire hall that was built in 1955. Darryl Condon, managing partner at HCMA, the architects who are leading the project, said, “This project is a response to the urgency of the climate crisis. It shows that even large, complex facilities can lead the way in reducing our industry’s carbon footprint, while still improving the public service they provide. It’s testament to the City of Vancouver’s forward-thinking vision and an example of how effective we can be as an industry when we collaborate from the earliest stages of a project.” As Vancouver’s second largest training fire hall, one of 20 in the city, the new facility will have four drive-through apparatus bays, a full-size hose/training tower, a training yard and accommodation for two full crews. Because the building is designed as a post-disaster facility, it will also be fitted with IT, radio, supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) and traffic control equipment.
The new Vancouver Fire Hall 17 will be the second largest training fire hall for Vancouver Fire and Rescue Services and specialise in hazmat response for the city. The complex requirements of such a facility led the team to divide the building into two separately certifiable Passive House zones: Zone A, comprising of the living areas and Zone B, which includes four drive-through apparatus bays and a full size hose/training tower. The gross floor area in the final building will be 2 900m2.
Vancouver Fire Hall 17 is one of 16 projects to pilot the Canada Green Building Council’s new ZCB standard and is also pursuing Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold certification, Passive House certification and Net Zero Energy, as defined by the Federation of Canadian Municipalities.
To achieve these low carbon and low energy performance targets, design strategies include an optimised orientation to benefit from local climate conditions, an airtight envelope, efficient air and water heat recovery systems and a low carbon mechanical system that utilises a geo-exchange field with ground source heat pumps. It will save over $40 000 in annual energy costs and 640 000kWh of energy, the equivalent of 1 200 refrigerators or 24 clothing dyers running non-stop for a year.
The new low carbon building will be situated on Knight Street at 55th Avenue and will also serve as a post-disaster citywide emergency hub in the event of an information technology network breakdown. It’s designed that so any fire fighter in the building can get to a fire truck in 60 seconds.
The project was made possible through a collaborative team effort including HCMA, who are the architects and sustainability consultants, the City of Vancouver, Integral Group, responsible for mechanical and electrical, Morrison Hershfield assigned with energy modelling and RJC Engineers, envelope and structural experts.
BAP Acoustics is also working with HCMA Architecture and Design in the development of the replacement Vancouver Fire Hall No 17. Of particular interest is the achieving the Indoor Environmental Quality Credit for acoustic performance. This involves adequately protecting the dormitory suites from exterior noise disturbance, as well as ensuring that reverberation and background noise in noise sensitive interior spaces is adequately controlled.
“We’re pleased to earn the ZCB design certification for Fire Hall 17; a project which transformed one of Vancouver’s oldest fire halls to the country’s first zero-emissions station,” says Danica Djurkovic, Director of Facilities Planning and Development at the City of Vancouver. “This community facility is a leading example of the City of Vancouver’s climate commitments, showing that we can make near-zero-emissions buildings the new normal, while enhancing occupant comfort and reducing energy and water consumption costs. This project is on track to receive Passive House certification and has pushed the envelope in multiple ways, including generating its own renewable energy with solar photovoltaic panels on the building’s roof.”
Deputy Chief Tyler Moore said on 8 May 2020, “We have changed our move in date to early February 2021 but there is still a lot of work being done at Vancouver Fire Hall 17. The exterior walls are starting to be placed and the stairs and pole hole to the second floor are in place.”
Source: HCMA, BAP Acoustics, Deputy Chief Tyler Moore and Canadian Architect