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First net-zero energy fire hall in Canada proposed for South Vancouver

Proposed design would produce as much as energy as it uses

The proposed design for a new net-zero energy Fire Hall No. 17 located at Knight Street and East 55th Avenue in South Vancouver. Photo: Submitted Rendition
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Reported by Ana Rose Walkey

Fire Hall No. 17 is proposed to become the first net-zero energy fire hall in Canada.

Located at Knight Street and East 55th Avenue in South Vancouver, the 62-year-old building is the oldest fire hall in Vancouver that has not been renewed or renovated according to its funding application.

The fire hall, which is currently seismically unsafe, also doubles as a training facility, which currently doesn’t meet department needs, according to Tyler Moore, deputy chief of planning and technical services at the Vancouver Fire and Rescue Services.

Moore said this project will be beneficial for the environment. It is being designed to have two environmental certifications: Passive House and Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold.

“It’s the first civic facility that you would see as you’re entering into the Knight Street gateway into Vancouver, so it’s a good opportunity to set the tone for City of Vancouver’s goals,” Moore said.

Net-zero means putting in as much as is used

In order to be net-zero energy, the building will have to create the same amount of energy that the hall would use annually, which will be achieved with photovoltaic solar panels on the roof of the hall, according to Moore.

Net-zero buildings reduce greenhouse gas emissions and support human health through the distribution of filtered air, reducing the amount of harmful particles in the air, according to Doug Smith, the director of the sustainability group with the City of Vancouver.

“For homes, this improves overall health and for commercial buildings, like Fire Hall 17, this improves productivity and reduces sick time,” Smith said.

Marley Caesar, environmental scientist at Stantec, said net-zero is a good starting point for sustainable building.

“Net-zero, the way I understand it, doesn’t take into account all of the materials that go into building a new building over making due with an existing one,” Caesar said.

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