Thursday, July 17, 2014

Saving Energy One Building At A Time

 AFD North Station, first occupied 1975

39-year-old AFD North Station will get some cosmetic energy tweaks over the next year and a half courtesy of a $165,539 state Green Community grant, two-thirds of which goes to the funky but aging fire station and the other one-third to Town Hall.

The apparatus room, which dominates the center of the building, will switch to a more efficient infrared heating system at a cost of $20,558, and added insulation for the walls at a cost of $64,973.  

The last item, a "Demand Control Ventilation " system, will be installed at a cost of $23,977.  The system automatically adjusts the heating/cooling and ventilation to fit the changing usage of the building during the day/night, although since North Station is staffed 24/7, probably not a great money saver.

Town Hall also received $56,031 for a DCV sysstem. Since Town Hall is pretty much a 9-5 work operation with limited evening hours for meetings, the system will probably pay bigger dividends than the one at the fire station.

Amherst Town Hall,  first occupied 1890

The Joint Capital Planning Committee has been putting off for the past four years recommending the $12 million for a new South Fire Station.  And staffing levels at Central and North Station now routinely require Dispatch to issue tones for off duty personnel or the hourly Call Force (Engine 4) to report in for "station coverage."

UMass recently reiterated their pledge of $80,000 to staff two extra ambulances over the weekends while schools are in session, but there are still times when all five ambulances are swamped, and mutual aid is required.


Anonymous said...

The bigger issue Larry is indoor air quality and the Diesel Exhaust -- fine particulate matter comes to mind.

A Diesel engine wants to be at the designed temperature (usually 190 degrees) and at both a constant rpm and with a steady load.

AFD is starting "cold" (room temperature) Diesel engines and almost immediately going to full power -- they have to, it's an emergency and they can't wait for the engine to warm up.

They are inherently blowing a lot of nasty stuff out the exhaust pipe -- into the air of the station bay, and as there isn't an airlock, it goes from there into the living quarters every time anyone opens the door. We didn't know as much about the hazards of Diesel exhaust in the 1970's as we do now -- and I'm hoping that someone isn't coming up with the bright idea of preventing that smoky air from escaping the engine bay...

Anonymous said...
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Thoms Valle, Secretary Amherst Fire Fighters Local 1764 said...

Both fire stations are equipped with a "Plymovent" system. Hoses are attached to the exhaust pipes of all vehicles inside the building. When the vehicle's engine is turned on, the Plymovent system uses negative pressure to remove the exhaust and expels it out a vent on the roof of the building.