Skip to content

Fire and Rescue refurb showcases sustainable design

Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service has embedded strict energy and sustainability requirements into its buildings - which will help during a green firefighting competition this winter.

Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service (GMFRS) has embedded strict energy and sustainability requirements into its buildings - which will help during a green firefighting competition this winter. 

During the construction of new premises and refurbishment of existing buildings, GMFRS implemented an ‘Energy and Building Temperature Policy’ and other sustainability requirements to ensure that energy efficiency, sustainable materials and social value were factored in at an early stage.

New builds

For new builds, minimum specifications were set for energy consumption per square metre, along with requirements for an A+ rated Energy Performance Certificate; a minimum of 20 per cent energy demand to be supplied by renewables; and policies to use minimal gas heating and choose building fabric and technologies on the basis of their ‘whole-life’ cost.

For example, the Wigan Community Fire & Ambulance Station, completed in 2017, achieved a BREEAM ‘excellent’ rating, with features including:

• A 40kWp solar PV system

• LED lighting throughout the building

• A rainwater harvesting system for vehicle washing

• 20 per cent of building materials sourced from recycled content

• A bespoke building management system (BMS) for the temperature control of different rooms.

Refurbishment

Minimum requirements for refurbishments also include choosing materials and technologies on a whole-life cost basis, as well as a requirement for the installation of automatic controls and minimum specifications for boiler upgrades and energy-labelled equipment. 

The Fire and Rescue Service Training and Safety Centre in Oldham, the largest purpose-built firefighter training facility in the UK, was also refurbished in 2017.

A number of sustainability features were factored into the project, including: 

• A 108kWp solar PV system

• LED lighting throughout the training facilities and visitor centre

• A solar thermal heating system

• A smoke scrubber on the high-rise training facility to minimise impact on local air quality

• Weather monitoring equipment to ensure training activity factors in local sensitivities.

National competition

All of GMFRS’ stations will be trying to reduce their energy consumption over four months this winter as part of a national competition for firefighters.

The ‘Green Action’ competition, supported by WWF and Greenpeace, pits fire stations across the country against each other to cut gas and electricity use, with the winner presented with a bespoke trophy in 2019.