Scottsdale, Arizona is one of a growing number of American cities that have inserted LEED into their building code. Scottsdale set the bar quite high with a LEED Gold requirement, but that wasn't going to limit these architects. When father-and-son architects Lawrence and Lance Enyart of LEA Architects were chosen in 2005 to design the 14,350 square-foot firehouse, they decided to shoot for LEED Platinum. Lance Enyart said, "Gold was the mandate, but for us it wasn't about points that we could achieve, it was about implementing strategies that were project appropriate."
You'll be interested to know that LEA Architects met its LEED Platinum goal, and the building, according to Fire Chief, is the first LEED Platinum fire station in the world. Some of its green features include the following:
- 5 kW photovoltaic array on the roof that provides 9% of total energy;
- Solar hot water that meets 95% of the domestic hot water demand;
- Operable windows for added indoor environmental quality;
- Majority of occupiable space located along the perimeter of the building to take advantage of natural lighting;
- Arizona sandstone brick sourced only one hundred and fifty miles from the site;
- Interior block masonry only fifteen miles from the site
- Interior block masonry used as thermal mass to capture cooling and heating loads;
- 100% of the irrigation sourced from shower and sink graywater;
- Low flow fixtures, waterless urinals, and dual flush toilets throughout;
- Water harvesting pipes that double as shading devices as part of exterior trellis; and
- A design intended to use 40% less energy than a code-compliant firehouse.
When I spoke with architects Lawrence and Lance, they described the unique nature of designing a LEED Platinum firehouse. Lawrence Enyart said, "a fire station is different than other building, it's not an eight-hour-a-day office. A fire station is used 24 hours a day, which is almost double what a normal building would use in energy."
Block masonry is favored over drywall because firefighters carry metal equipment while running which would destroy a conventional gypsum wall assembly. The block interior walls also lower heating and cooling loads by absorbing energy and radiating it out when the air handlers are off. The air conditioning system has a "governor" on it because firefighters have to wear layers of hot, protective gear, even in the summer and can be tempted to turn the air conditioning to the highest possible setting. Hot air is allowed to escape through a cooling tower, which also doubles as a climbing tower for firefighter training.
Lawrence Enyart has a long history of working in solar design. The energy crunch of the 1970's left a big impression on him. He is one of the first degree holders out of Arizona State University in Solar Architecture and graduated the same day that his son, Lance, was born. While Lance received his training from the University of Arizona, the two have been able to collaborate despite school rivalries.
Photo credits: LEA Architects.