With a building that is used 24 hours a day, seven days a week, foreseeing the future can be a tough charge. But that’s exactly what General Services did when constructing Fire Station 35.
For this fire station, the city mandated that the building be LEED®-certified. Brooks was charged with studying what the certification required, and in the process, learned a great deal about sustainability and its impact on the overall budget
“We built it not only to fit the needs for today but what comes down the road in the future,” said Danny Brooks, building manager for the Nashville Fire Department.
“I’ve really enjoyed it,” said Brooks. “You can sit back and say it’s silly but the bottom line is it’s going to help with cost savings.”
The stations has automated light sensors that turn off when the a room isn’t occupied. “The big thing with us is at night when the firefighters catch a run, the last thing on their mind is turning lights off in the building,” said Brooks. “So if they’re gone 2-3 hours, the lights are out when they get back.”
The building’s HVAC system is automated and overseen by General Services, but at any time, Brooks and his team can check on temperatures throughout the building simply by clicking on their desktop computer.
General Services also oversees the weekly cleaning service, which uses green practices, but even the firefighters have enlisted sustainable options for the daily housekeeping. This includes microfiber brooms and mops, as well as towels that are color-coordinated – red for certain areas, green for others – so they don’t cross-contaminate.
Brooks and his department have learned so much about LEED® construction that they have taken the knowledge from Fire Station 35 and put it to use on other buildings. They put in solar panels on the roof of stations that replaced several that were around 40-50 years old.
To contain the water run-off for Fire Station 35, Brooks and his team went with a retention pond, so as not to impose on any of their neighbors. “A lot of LEED® stuff is common sense,” admitted Brooks. “You not only have a water savings, but you have a cost savings, bottom line.”