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Local Fire Station Turned Green

July 27, 2009

Pleasanton (CA) Mayor Jennifer Hosterman and the city council wanted to set the example of creating achievable and affordable green buildings, so they launched an initiative as part of an overall Master Plan to utilize city-owned property to construct and relocate Fire Station No. 4. Today, the station reaps multiple benefits: complements the local aesthetic, establishes a unique gateway into Pleasanton's downtown commercial core, and, at the time of construction, had the highest LEED rating and was the first LEED-certified emergency service building in Alameda County.

The fire station building was originally selected because it was due for relocation while the city council's support of incorporating sustainable building technologies created the opportunity to design a fire station with LEED Silver Certification, which the project team later discovered to be possible without significant cost. At the time of this project, the city, county, contractors and architects faced the challenge of constructing a new building, using new standards and unfamiliar materials.

The overall design includes consideration of building orientation to take advantage of solar orientation and predominant wind directions, passive alternative energy systems incorporating photovoltaic panels, bio'swales for filtering of surface drainage run-off, and xeriscape landscape design to reduce landscaping water consumption. This new design reduces waste, energy and water consumption and improves overall health and comfort. Many of these measures will also provide ongoing cost savings. As a result, the station received the LEED Gold Certification, version 2.1.

Additionally, to improve air quality and reduce negative health impacts on firefighters and city staff, low-VOC adhesives, paints, carpet, composite wood and natural linoleum products were selected. These factors resulted in a citywide policy requiring the use of non-toxic cleaning supplies.

The station also represents the power of local partnerships. As part of Alameda County's Waste Management Authority Green Building Program, green building experts assisted with the LEED rating process and provided a grant to fund additional design needs, high-recycled content products, LEED documentation and commissioning services.

Ultimately, this station has improved area aesthetics, employee air quality and resulted in a 34-ton carbon dioxide emissions reduction.