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The Clean Air Partnership is a registered charity, founded in 2000. Our mission is to work with partners to achieve clean air, facilitate the exchange of ideas, advance change and promote and coordinate implementation of actions that improve local air quality.

Halton Hills Keeps Earth Day going, part 2

Halton Hills’ Earth Day celebrations at the Georgetown Marketplace were great, but it was such a beautiful day that I had to get outside to see some of the great Green Buildings and other innovative spaces that the town had to offer.  With that in mind, I headed out to the Town’s newly constructed Fire Station, where Chief Bruce talked to me about some of the green building features of the newly constructed hall.

As I mentioned in my Green Buildings post when I went to Burlington, Fire Stations represent a unique facility in the municipal portfolio in that they are often always occupied. This means that you can’t just turn off the lights or turn down the heat at night, because staff still occupy the building and need to be comfortable.  Because these buildings are always “on”, the potential for savings is huge, and Halton Hills has recognized this opportunity and acted accordingly.

The Green features of the Fire Station aren’t necessarily the most visible.  There’s no solar panels, no wind turbines, no big living walls.  By all outward appearances, it looks just like another Fire Station.  But appearances can be deceiving, as I soon learn.  First off, the Fire Station is 100% heated and cooled by geothermal technology. Pipes run 500 feet into the ground and circulate warm or cool water through the floor, depending on the temperature demand.  Chief Bruce takes pride in telling people that the only fossil fuel that comes into the building (aside from the fuel used for the fire trucks of course) is the natural gas for the stove.

At the Halton Hills Fire Station, pipes go down 500 feet into the ground to bring up warm and cool water, depending on the season and the temperature control requirements.

They say a picture is worth a thousand words, so rather than use those 1,000 words trying to explain how geothermal works, I'll let this handy picture do it for me! Now that's efficiency!

Aside from not relying on gas and electricity to heat and cool the building, the fire station also doesn’t rely nearly as heavily on municipal water for its water requirements as a normal building.  Below the floor of the Station sits a 25,000 litre water tank, which collects rain water off the roof of the fire station.  The water from that tank is used to clean the fire trucks and to fill the tanks of the trucks deployed to areas where there are no hydrants readily available.  When coupled with low-flow toilets, waterless urinals and low-flow fixtures throughout the building, the result is a Fire Hall that uses much less water than your average Station.

The beautiful stream that runs through the Willow Park Ecology Centre.

After touring the fire hall, I’m feeling about ready for some time outside, so I head to the Willow Park Ecology Centre, where I’m greeted by a beautiful babbling brook, some beautiful trails and some hard working folks toiling away in the compost demonstration area.  There I’m greeted by Carolyn, who shows me the plans to build a creature tower on the site to house a variety of wildlife.  She shows me the compost bins and explains the educational role that the Centre plays in the community, and also shows me some of the herbs growing on site, which I look at jealously.  Their chives are much further along than mine, likely because of all that great compost and the care that they get from the volunteers who work so hard there.  By this point, I’m starting to run a bit short of time; my own garden at home needs a fence built around it, so I have to get going to avoid building a fence in the dark.  But I make plans to come back on June 9th, when the Ecology Centre hosts an event focused on removing invasive species and learning more about the fragile ecosystem of the area.  I’m already looking forward to returning to Halton Hills for a proper Sustainable Day-Cation.  June 9th can’t come fast enough!

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  1. My Sustainable Day-Cation in Mississauga Day 3: Fire Fighting Goes green | Clean Air Partnership - October 17, 2012

    […] you’ve been following this blog, you know that I have written about Fire Stations before, and with good reason. They’re in every single municipality, they’re occupied […]

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