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Fire Hall 17 in Vancouver
February 22, 2021

Fire Hall 17 in Vancouver

The new Vancouver Fire Hall 17 is the second-largest training fire hall for VFRS and specialize in HazMat response for the city of Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

The building type is institutional with a gross floor area of 2,900 m2 was built in 2021. It offers a 99.67% reduction in operational carbon emissions compared to the existing Fire Hall 17. To achieve these low carbon and low energy performance targets, design strategies include an optimized orientation to benefit from local climate conditions, an airtight envelope, efficient air and water heat recovery systems, and a low carbon mechanical system that utilizes a geo-exchange field with ground source heat pumps.

“Vancouver Fire Hall 17 is a response to the urgency of the climate crisis,” says Darryl Condon, Managing Partner at HCMA. “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 a 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.”

The complex requirements of such a facility led the team to divide the building into two separately certifiable Passive House zones: Zone A (living areas) running at 20 degrees and Zone B (four drive-through apparatus bays, a full-size hose/training tower) running at 10 degrees in winter and 25 in summer.

The facility is targeting LEED v4 Gold certification, Passive House certification, CaGBC Zero Carbon Building certification and Site Net-Zero Energy through FCM.

Foto credit to @HCMA

dl Fire Hall No.17 North Americas First Passive House Fire Hallorcester (link here)

Case Study, www.zebx.org, 2020.

The new Fire Hall No.17 project replaces the existing facility with a high-performance and fully electric building that will also act as a city-wide and post-disaster emergency hub. The new fire hall is the first in North America to pursue Passive House certification.

The heating, ventilation, air conditioning, and domestic hot water systems are fully electric. The building uses a hydronic heating and cooling system with three high-performance ground source heat pumps, connected to a closed-loop geo-exchange field. Space heating in the apparatus bays is supplied by radiant heating in the concrete floor slabs. The administrative and accommodation areas are heated with hydronic fan coil units utilizing ECM that control air-flow based on demand.

A total of six heat recovery units (HRVs) are utilized to recover the heat from the exhaust air and heat the incoming air. Using separate HRVs for different zones helps prevent mixing air with different temperatures and reduce the need for reheating air for warmer zones. It also provides better demand control ventilation in the absence of the low-pressure variable air volume (VAV) terminal units, which were not commercially available at the time of design.

The exhaust fan activates when a truck is turned on inside the building and automatically switches off 5 minutes after the departure of the vehicle. A noxious gas monitoring system can override and turn on the vehicle exhaust extraction system when contaminants exceed a set point.

dl Mechanical deep dive (link here)

Presentation by S. Hood, S. Ghomeshi, A. Chong. from Net Positive Symposium, 2017.

Interesting facts about mechanical systems for large, complex and non-residential buildings. See floor plans, sketches and diagrams for Fire Hall, among many others.

www.canadianarchitect.com (link here)

Read more about Vancouver´s fire hall achieving Zero Carbon first.