Friday, May 27, 2011

High Tech Dutch Fire Station Relies On Innovative Solar Collecting Rooftop Parking Lot

When the municipality of Alkmaar in The Netherlands needed a new fire station, they had a lot of specific criteria that needed to be met. First the facility had to achieve a high level of energy efficiency and sustainability. They also needed the NBHW fire station to have facilities for a care center for addicts and meet many strict town planning conditions. As a result the facility, designed by LIAG, conforms to the site along the North Holland Canal with a rooftop parking deck to place cars out of sight. The parking deck is also used to collect solar energy for the underground thermal energy storage system to minimize electricity use.

LIAG and the municipality of Alkmaar joined forces in an ambitious plan for a sustainable and energy efficient building. The municipality of Alkmaar has athe policy that all its buildings must perform 20% better than the applicable legal norms. Additionally the municipality of Alkmaar requires a minimum score of a clear pass (7.0) per theme for the GPR building (Municipal - Performance - Guideline). The new building project more than amply satisfies the objectives in this area with an average score of 7.9 and scoring a ‘good' on average.

Aside from a balanced choice in materials with attention for environmental impact in manufacturing and recycling, use has been made of building elements that due to their size and detail can easily be reused and fit within the vision of ‘Cradle-to-Cradle' building. In this way all the windows of the offices are one size and a high degree of repetition of elements has been chosen in the fa├žade. Many of these elements can easily be reused at the end of their current useful life-cycle.

Use is made of underground thermal energy storage (UTES) to achieve a pleasant and comfortable indoor climate using a minimum of energy. In order to further utilize this system the parking deck is used as a solar collector. Water hoses will be built into the parking deck to pump water heated by the sun into the ground so that cold water can be pumped up to be used to cool in summer, and warm during winter, the building of 8,500 m2 gfa and the adjoining council offices of 12,500 m2 gfa. This system means that a new boiler is not required for the 8,500 m2 of additional functions. All energy required by the fire station and the Brijder care centre for addicts will come from the UTES installation. Additionally the UTES system can be used to keep the parking deck ice-free in winter. This building design actually works as an energy/climate plant with general functions for the municipality of Alkmaar.

Source: Inhabitat
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