Windermere Fire Station 31 – the City of Edmonton’s first net-zero building – exemplifies thoughtful integration of the natural and built environments. It is a 1,520-square-meter facility built to serve the needs of a growing Edmonton suburb. It has bays for three fire engines as well as offices, sleeping quarters and dining areas for a crew of up to 12 firefighters.  

The most important consideration when designing a fire station is the facilitation of rapid response times through the optimal movement of trucks and equipment. The design team situated the fire station to ensure ideal truck mobility and then shaped it to generate solar energy and reduce heat gain. The striking, south-facing sloped roof is set at a perfect angle to capture the sun’s rays. It features a 382-panel solar array with a rated capacity of 143 kilowatts. 

The building is net zero, meaning it produces as much energy as it consumes. Features include:  

  • A geothermal field featuring 35 boreholes provides energy for heating and cooling. 
  • The envelope and roof, including the underslab, have high insulation values to ensure heat and cooling capture are greater than that of a typical structure with no sustainability requirements.  
  • Along with a net zero certification, the Windermere Fire Station 31 is also seeking a LEED Gold certification.  
  • The bay doors are side-folding rather than overhead garage doors for two reasons:  
  1. They open and close more quickly, preserving warm air in the winter and cool air in the summer. 
  2. They reduce incidents of damage from fire engines clipping the door before it is all the way up. Drivers have a better view of doors that open side-to-side. This saves on ongoing maintenance costs. 

Windermere Fire Station 31 is an important community investment: It will substantially reduce the fire department’s response time for the fast-growing southwest corner of the city. 

It will also act as a community center in the event of an emergency. It is a post-disaster, non-combustible, sprinklered building. It also has a dedicated room to receive donations for the many community drives the department supports.

Windermere Fire Station 31 was delivered by PCL’s Special Projects division. Special Projects delivers competitive, customized solutions on building projects typically under $15 million. Our specialized teams deliver projects across a wide range of markets including building revitalization, commercial, retail, education, government services, health care and hospitality, allowing us to build success from the inside out and from the ground up. 

This project was featured in the June 2023 issue of AWARD magazine.

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