Clear Creek Station #7 is a solar self-sufficient station. It utilizes a thermal mass system to insulate the building, retaining and releasing heat generated by the ground. Additionally, solar hot water panels on the roof will heat water that is circulated through baseboards and that radiates enough heat to maintain a temperature over 55 degrees when the doors are closed. The solar panels also generate electricity for the building and, since the building will be tied to the grid, we return electricity through the grid when we aren’t using the 15 kilowatts generated per day. We have a battery system as well, so that we can function during a power outage.
Our station is approximately 3,000 square feet: three bays for our pair of trucks and plenty of room to train with those apparatus inside when the weather is bad. We can store off-road vehicles there and use the extra bay in conjunction with new meeting space as a command center for any incident in the neighborhood. We have a cistern inside the station with extra water for the trucks. Although we do have hydrants in the neighborhood, access can be tricky in the winter. We do have an auger (purchased with money raised in previous Labor Day fundraisers) to punch a hole through the ice on the lakes for winter water supply needs, but an extra cistern enhances our abilities to refill without needing to go to a lake or drive the tanker down to Idaho Springs.
The cost of this project was $343,200, which was a significant short-term investment. However, the long-term savings on energy and the ability to be independent of the grid if needed as well as increasing the abilities of Clear Creek Fire Authority’s Station 7 will provide returns well into the future. With this station, we are protecting the neighborhood and protecting the planet.