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I am in the process of determining whether or not we want to pursue a LEED certification for our two new fire stations. I have spoken with members at two departments who work in LEED certified stations, but I am looking for more feedback: what benefits have you seen? Are there problems with the design or implementation of your plan? Have you recieved a lot of positive community feedback for making this effort?

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Here are some links that fill you in a little on what I am talking about: the actual LEED site; and the Wikipedia article on LEED certification.

From what I have heard so far, there is some merit to incorporating some of the design items into our new buildings to head in the direction of making a differnece, but there are some bugs that need to be worked out ion other areas. For example, I'm all for the flow restriction devices on the faucets, showers, etc., but when you can't get the soap off of you fast enough and your engine is leaving without you, well, that's a problem (that's just one very inconsequential issue- some of the others are things that really need evaluating).

My wife's new place of business is going to be in the first LEED-certified building on Hilton Head Island and it's kind of what pushed me in the direction of learning more about it. I mentioned it to our Town Manager, who mentioned my "great idea" to our Chief, who of course was laughing when he called me and said, "it was your idea, feel free to run with it and get us a proposal and let's see what the benefits and drawbacks are" (he's a great chief; he's willing to get the facts before making a decision, which is unusual in a lot of places)

Some of the departments felt like the project was just a PR stunt because there really wasn't any heart-felt effort put into the project; others felt like it actually made a difference. I don't want our department doing something because it "looks good"; I want us to do something because it's the right thing to do.

Finally, this is a link to the Orlando Fire Station 15 that I visited last week, and there are others across the nation in Chicago, California, Wisconsin, and a few others.
I am not completely sold on the entire LEED buildings. It definitely seems to have a lot of const upfront, and I am not convinced that the savings pay back is there yet. Although with rising energy costs it will get there. I install building automation controls and I think this is probably the best payback on the installation cost. I know I have a biased opinion, but the right digital control system installed correctly can be virtually maintenance free for years. But it all depends on the mechanincal equipment installed, I would suggest getting higher effiency on the HVAC equipment, although this is still limited in the commercial markets. I have installed systems in different type occupancies including jails, fire stations, churches and industrial. The problem with Firehouses and Jails are there is no down time they are occupied 24/7 which makes energy savings difficult because there is no "unoccupied" schedules. I would warn you to watch how your engineer words the specs no matter what you do. Many engineering firms spec the same thing Trane, Carrier or Johnson controls. Get them to spec the sequence of operations you want not the particular brand of controls. It will open up the bidding process to more manufactures/contractors which will get you better pricing, even Trane will bid a lower price if they know they are bidding against the smaller name control systems. I highly reccomend KMC controls for versatility and reliabilty. I installed a system in the Davie County Correction Facility in NC in 2004 and have not been back since. But keep in mind the little things that make a big difference like turning off the heat in the bays while the doors are up and lighting based on occupancy sensors instead of just light switches. Let me know if I can be of any help.
Yeah, the general consensus was that the HVAC aspect of things left a lot to be desired. My perspective isn't so much from a savings aspect as an environmentally responsible one, but I'm sure as with most issues we experience in the public sector, the taxpayers seem to be less concerned with environmental impact than they are with pocketbook impact.

It is for this reason I posted here; to get this kind of feedback. Great stuff.
Talk to Deputy Fire Chief Wes Collins at Eastside Fire & Rescue (http://www.eastsidefire-rescue.org) in Issaquah Washington. The city designed and constructed a LEEDS certified station in a new residential development and after the bugs were worked out, it was a great concept and idea. The design was conceived by TCA Architecture (http://www.tca-inc.com) in Seattle a leader in LEEDS certified fire station design
I work for the City of Vaughan Fire Rescue Service just outside of Toronto, Ontario, Canada. We have 2 REED fire Stations and will soon be building a third. if you require any information still, just respond and i would be glad to get it for you.

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