Fire Department to celebrate energy certification with open house

Marie Havenga • Jun 5, 2018 at 10:00 AM

The Spring Lake Township fire station at the northeast corner of Fruitport Road and M-104 will host a public open house Wednesday afternoon to celebrate its LEED Gold certification, a recognition of its “green” and energy-efficient building standards.

It is only the second fire station in the state to receive the designation, according to Spring Lake Township Fire Chief Brian Sipe. The other station is in Traverse City.

The certification comes from the U.S. Green Building Council.

The open house is scheduled for 4-6 p.m. The award presentation will happen at 5 p.m.

Township Manager Gordon Gallagher said township leaders are proud of the station, which opened in 2016.

Of the $2 million construction cost, about $100,000 was spent on upgrades to make LEED (leadership in energy and environmental design) certification possible, according to Gallagher.

“I don't think it would surprise anyone that Spring Lake Township is strong into environmental designs and sustainability,” Gallagher said. “We believe in maintaining a quality environment while still supporting development and job creation.”

Because of the energy-efficient design, Gallagher says it costs the township about the same to operate the one fire station at M-104/Fruitport Road as it did to operate two former fire stations — on 148th Avenue and at the former Township Hall.

“A lot of it is about energy usage,” he said. “The solar collectors on the roof of the apparatus bay is a big part of it. It's not something you necessarily see when you drive by, but it adds to the energy efficiency.”

Gallagher anticipates an eight-year payback on the solar features.

“I think the argument would be — it was very much worth the effort as far as all of the pieces that went into the energy-efficient design of the building,” he said. “It also has a very efficient heating system. There were a lot of small things that were interesting to me as we went through the process — how we designed the parking areas, how the material for the building was sourced. ... It was very interesting to go through the process of documenting what energy efficiencies were put into the building.”

The station’s LED lighting operates on timers. If someone forgets to turn off a light, they go off automatically.

“When you think about a simple light like the old 100-watt light bulb, now with a 15-watt LED bulb you're able to get the same lighting with a 90 percent reduction in energy usage,” Gallagher explained.

Gallagher said energy efficiency is a township priority.

“We're very excited about it being recognized as an LEED Gold building,” he said. “We're extremely proud of that accomplishment.”

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