Back in 2006, then-Mayor Greg Nickels described the West Queen Anne Fire Station 20 at 3205 13th Ave W, as being “in the worst condition of the 33 stations in our system”, citing its inability to meet current code requirements or the daily needs of firefighters, as well as its unsuitability for seismic retrofitting. In 2009, a new site for Fire Station 20 was chosen by the City Council – 2800 15th Ave W.
The new site is comprised of four lots, 2 vacant lots and 2 commercial lots (boarded up and vacant), at the northeast corner of 15th Ave West and West Armor Street. It will become the new home of Fire Station 20 in 2014, serving Queen Anne, Interbay, Magnolia, Ballard, and north downtown. Fast forward to today, the design firm has been chosen and plans are in place with early drawings available. Construction on the new station begins in Spring 2013 with completion estimated for early Summer 2014. The construction budget will top out at $5.7 million, funded by the Fire Facilities and Emergency Response Levy Program passed by voters in 2003.
The new Fire Station 20 won’t be your typical station – it’ll be an example of green infrastructure and the City’s new model of sustainable design. The City challenged the Fire Station 20 design team to create a building that meets the criteria for LEED Platinum certification, and adheres to guidelines outlined in the Architecture 2030 Challenge. Key impacts include reducing water usage by 40% and energy usage by 30% – with actual energy savings rising to 40-50% once the building is operational and running as planned.
The innovative green design elements include the following:
- Terraced gardens along the north and east will provide a protected green area for native plants and a vegetable garden for the firefighters
- Storm water runoff will be treated and filtered via systems as well as the garden’s vegetation
- Two green roofs will support infiltration and evapotranspiration, provide additional softscape reducing heat-island effect, and provide a habitat for birds and insects
- Ground source heat pumps will boost efficiency and reduce the operational costs of the heating and cooling system
- A rooftop solar panel array will provide all of the energy needed to heat the water used in the sinks and showers in the building, and store excess energy for use in the building.
- All plumbing fixtures will be ultra-low flow, with toilets using 1.28 gallons per flush, versus the standard 3.5 gallons
- Greywater from sinks, showers and laundry facilities will be collected, filtered, and reused on-site to flush toilets
The City and Design team want to use the new green, sustainable station as an educational opportunity to engage and inform people about how the project protects the environment, operates efficiently, and does so all in the space of 9,446 square feet. The site will be accessible to the public on three sides and the grade will allow people to see the solar panels and green roofs from above. The City is currently exploring public signage highlighting the sustainable features of the station and a flip-dot electronic signboard connected to the station’s control system.