Fire Station Efficiency Solutions Package
The Fire Station Efficiency Solutions Package aims to assist municipalities nationwide reduce carbons footprints, lower utility bills, and increase resiliency by selecting improvements that will reduce energy and water use in existing buildings by at least 20 percent. This toolkit is a product of a collaboration of the City of Atlanta (CoA) and Southface Energy Institute through the Advanced Commercial Buildings Initiative in partnership with the U.S. Department of Energy.
The entire CoA fire station portfolio was benchmarked in ENERGY STAR® Portfolio Manager, and select stations were assessed through ASHRAE Level II audits, energy monitoring, performance testing and energy modeling to develop a deep understanding of their energy consumption profiles. Southface also supported the CoA during upgrade selection and implementation. Through this tool, municipalities and fire departments will be equipped to plan and implement individual and portfolio-level upgrades.
Across the nation there are at least 21,198 fire departments who operate approximately 50,700 fire stations. These fire stations house a total of 1,066,300 career and volunteer fire fighters each year. The Atlanta Fire and Rescue Department manages 37 fire stations, which are home to 948 fire fighters. Fire stations’ heavy operating hours, long-term building occupation and technically savvy staff creates the potential for large energy savings, especially where upgrades can be standardized across a portfolio.
Because fire departments are a common municipal building type and play a prominent role in civic life, the CoA research efforts focused on characterizing energy and water consumption across the portfolio and providing upgrade solutions which are applicable to the vast majority of fire stations.
Problem Statement and Barriers
Aging building shells and inefficient equipment across fire station portfolios waste tax payer dollars, while creating uncomfortable and unhealthy living environments for fire fighters who dedicate themselves to public service.
Barriers to implementing energy efficiency projects at municipal fire stations include:
- Limited access to financing and higher priority upgrades (ADA, life safety)
- Lack of defined and measurable goals related to energy efficiency
- Gaps in utility data collection and lack of data verification protocol
- Lack of training around best practices regarding energy efficiency
This solutions package aims to address the last three barriers listed above.
The CoA sustainability plan sets targets to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 20 percent by 2020 and 40 percent by 2030, with 2009 as the baseline. Goals specific to fire station upgrades are as follows:
- Track utility consumption for all fire stations in ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager.
- Exceed the 20 percent energy and water reduction goals of the Atlanta Better Buildings Challenge, which is part of a competition under the Department of Energy’s Better Building Challenge.
- Pursue upgrades with a simple payback of five years or less.
- Standardize upgrades across fire station portfolio.