North Cowichan will invest $204,000 in energy efficiencies at the new Crofton fire hall when it is built. (File photo)

North Cowichan will invest $204,000 in energy efficiencies at the new Crofton fire hall when it is built. (File photo)

North Cowichan to invest $204,000 for energy efficiencies at new Crofton fire hall

Funding to come from CAEP reserve funds

North Cowichan will invest $204,375 to improve the energy efficiency at the new Crofton fire hall building when it is constructed, council decided at its meeting on Nov. 16.

Funding for the energy efficiencies will come from the municipality’s Climate Action and Energy Plan’s corporate reserve fund.

North Cowichan’s previous council decided in September to move forward with plans to replace the aging Crofton fire hall with a $4.8-million project after the electorate gave assent to the project in an Alternative Approval Process.

RELATED STORY: $4.8-MILLION PROJECT TO REPLACE CROFTON FIRE HALL WILL PROCEED

As part of the design of the new building, an energy and emissions impact analysis was undertaken to consider energy-efficiency options for the facility.

Shawn Cator, North Cowichan’s director of operations for community services, said in a report that the design objective of the new building is to meet or exceed the goals set out in the municipality’s Climate Action and Energy Plan.

He said two of CAEP’s goals are applicable to this building; including achieving net-zero emissions in municipal buildings by 2030 and, starting in 2030 at the latest, installing net metered solar photovoltaic systems on all new buildings, which would supply at least 10 per cent of their electric load.

Cator said a multi-zone heat pump and PV-ready electrical upgrades are proposed for the building to meet the CAEP requirements.

“Upgrades to the windows, roof, wall and slab insulation are also being proposed,” he said.

“These changes increase the building’s efficiency from the National Energy Code of Canada for Building standards by 70 per cent. The modelled greenhouse gas intensity value of the proposed design will align to B.C.’s upcoming Carbon Pollution Standard’s zero-carbon ready standard.”

Cator said these costs total $175,000, and extra costs are expected to be related to other environmentally friendly options.

RELATED STORY: AS COSTS JUMP, COUNCIL WANTS FOR INFO ON CROFTON FIRE HALL REBUILD

These include low-flow fixtures that would reduce the rate of heating and cooling that leaves the outlet vents in each room, and demand-control ventilation that controls the heat and cooling in each area and can reduce consumption in areas that are not in use.

Cator said staff recommend that the $204,375 from the CAEP funds be structured as a $135,145 corporate grant, and a $68,230 corporate loan paid back over 10 years.

He said staff have not completed a detailed analysis of the work required to bring the fire hall’s annex building, which is the section of the building that is not being demolished, in compliance with the CAEP.

“The existing buildings contribute roughly 20 tonnes of [greenhouse gases] per year,” Cator said.

“With the renovations and addition, the total emissions of the fire hall will be 11 tonnes of [greenhouse gases] per year, produced by the heating system in the annex building.”

The existing fire hall in Crofton was constructed in 1964.

A number of assessments and studies have concluded that it’s in immediate need of seismic upgrades and urgent repairs, and given the cost of these repairs, it was decided that the older section of the fire hall be demolished and rebuilt in its current location.

The proposed fire hall building will be approximately 3,600 sq. ft. and includes training and administration space, as well as dedicated storage space for equipment, gear, and electronics.

Members of North Cowichan’s Crofton fire hall have been without adequate training space since 2019 when the second floor was closed due to load-bearing issues.

The new fire hall is expected to serve the community’s needs for 50 years.



robert.barron@cowichanvalleycitizen.com

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