New St. Catharines fire station will be the first to meet zero carbon building design standards

Photo by: Brenden Cowan

Located on Linwell Road in St. Catharines, the garden city’s new fire station will be the first to meet zero-carbon building design standards.

Announced during the last council meeting on Monday, March 20, the new fire station will be one of the first buildings in the country to meet Canada Green Building Council’s zero carbon standards. Additionally, city councilors have agreed to spend an extra $1.2 million on the project.

Although the decision was unanimous, it was not one to be taken lightly due to the overall cost of the project.

The project was originally the replacement of the old fire station located on 192 Linwell Road, with a budget of roughly $6 million. Now, the new project’s total budget, made up of design fees and associated construction materials and systems in order to meet the zero carbon building standards, is estimated to be around $7.2 million.

Although the addition of the $1.2 million was a recent decision, Anthony Martuccio, director of engineering, facilities and environmental services, noted that the station was always designed to include zero carbon features. However, the city’s 2021 capital budget for the project did not account for the exact cost of the project until recently, leading to the necessary change in the budget.

“We’ve progressed to a point now in the design of the project where we can quantify the additional costs in order to implement a zero carbon, net zero type facility and it was identified that these additional funds are required in order to do that,” said Martuccio to the St. Catharines Standard.

The station, which is expected to be ready for permit and tender by this spring, will have its construction finalized by the fall of 2024. The new location is anticipated to have electric air source heat pumps, triple-glazed thermal windows, airtight building construction, a permeable paving system, hydronic in-floor radiant heating and more features and amenities which will aid in meeting zero carbon standards.

The decision to implement zero carbon building standards along with the new fire station follows the city council’s declaration of a climate emergency in 2019. The council has since made it a goal to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050, and in 2021 voted for St. Catharines to join the global Cities Race to Zero Campaign.

The campaign is dedicated to rallying leadership and supporting businesses, cities and regions in acquiring zero carbon recovery that prevents future threats and solidifies sustainable growth.

In light of this, St. Catharines will be implementing various sustainable practices, such as putting climate action at the centre of all urban decision making and inviting partners in recognizing the global climate emergency.

In order to implement the new zero carbon fire station, the current Linwell Road station, built in 1958, will be torn down. Following this, the new station will be erected in the same location.

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