Issaquah fire station, hospital earn honors for energy efficiency

January 1, 2013

By Warren Kagarise

Issaquah is a hub for energy efficiency, after a fire station and a hospital in the city earned top honors in the same national competition for engineering and technology.

Eastside Fire & Rescue Station 72 and Swedish/Issaquah garnered first-place ASHRAE Technology Awards — a top recognition for innovative building design.

EFR Station 72 opened in 2011 as the most energy-efficient fire station on the planet. Swedish/Issaquah opened in July 2011, after planners spent years developing a “practical ‘green’” facility to dramatically reduce energy consumption.

ASHRAE — or the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air Conditioning Engineers — plans to bestow the awards on honorees in January at a conference in Dallas. The organization announced the recipients Nov. 9.

“After celebrating the opening of our nationally-acclaimed zHome — the city’s zero net energy townhome community — we are extremely proud that Issaquah is now recognized as home to two more best-in-class buildings,” Mayor Ava Frisinger said. “Sustainable innovation is part of the city’s identity. It is wonderful when our efforts lead to real, tangible results that can inspire the broader region.”

The organization lauded EFR Fire Station 72 for the interconnection between the solar thermal and ground source heat pump systems, occupancy sensors to turn off equipment and lights in empty rooms, and real-time energy use feedback for occupants.

“Even with its incredible levels of efficiency, the building’s functionality, durability and comfort are top notch,” EFR Chief Lee Soptich said. “The firefighters using the station have loved it from day one, and we couldn’t be happier with it.”

The building uses 70 percent less energy and 50 percent less water compared to typical fire stations in the region.

The facility is the highest scoring Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Platinum fire station in the world.

(Under LEED, projects receive points for sustainable features; certification levels range from Certified, at the lowest level, to Silver, Gold and Platinum.)

The award goes to the city and the firm responsible for the fire station’s mechanical systems design, Seattle-based Ecotope Inc.

In addition to the city and Ecotope Inc., TCA Architecture-Planning and EFR participated in the design collaboration.

The fire station cost $6.6 million to build — $1.4 million less than the original estimate. Funding for the facility came from the city through a voter-approved bond, capital dollars and fire mitigation funds, and from Fire Protection District 10.

Swedish/Issaquah earned plaudits for efforts to tamp down energy consumption — a challenge for a hospital operating 24/7.

The facility produces 47 percent less carbon emissions than a baseline building, cutting 6,513 tons of carbon emissions each year. Special plumbing fixtures in the facility save 30 percent and 50 percent of water used by standard fixtures.

Throughout the $365 million hospital, efficiency measures include a central plant heat recovery system, variable air volume air systems, recirculating air handling units, low-velocity ductwork and efficient lighting.

The award for Swedish/Issaquah goes to Jeremy McClanathan, a building energy modeling and health care facility design professional at Lynnwood-based CDi Engineers.

Other ASHRAE Technology Awards recipients include the National Renewable Energy Laboratory’s Research Support Facility in Golden, Colo., and Montréal Biodôme, a collection of flora and fauna from throughout the Americas built in the city’s former Olympic Stadium.

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