Fire Paramedic Department Seeks Geothermal Option for New Station

The Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Service is looking for an environmentally friendly alternative to heat and cool a new fire station.

The service wishes to apply for third-party funding to add a geothermal heating, ventilation and air conditioning system to the project, which will bring together the industrial paramedic stations in Saint-Boniface and Windsor Park.

“WFPS always seeks to lead by example in reducing the environmental impact of our operations,” Chief Christian Schmidt told the council’s Safety and Community Services Committee on Friday.

“The inclusion(a) of a geothermal HVAC system in the new construction of Station 9 would help the city meet its greenhouse gas reduction goals, reducing approximately 35 tons of carbon emissions each year that would be otherwise produced.”

Such an HVAC system upgrade is expected to add $300,000 to the new station’s $13.4 million price tag.

Committee members unanimously backed the idea on Friday, which would allow city staff to apply for grants and tax credits from senior governments and crown corporations to support the project.

The idea still needs to be approved by the board.

“I think that’s an easy yes. The cost of fossil fuels is rising and the return on investment for alternative heating systems is what we need to look at, given the energy crisis,” the adviser said. Sherri Rollins, chair of the committee, told the Free Hurry. “The public service wants to do the right thing…and we should support it.”

Schmidt said the additional investment to switch to a geothermal system at the new station, which will be placed at the Windsor Park site, would pay off because of the energy savings.

“The geothermal system has an estimated life of 50 years and an estimated capital payback period of 10 to 15 years, depending on energy costs and federal and provincial incentives that would apply,” he said.

It would also provide an “essential learning opportunity for future construction and HVAC building retrofits,” Schmidt added.

The city staff report estimates that switching from traditional heating and cooling systems to a geothermal option would save the city about $5,100 a year in carbon tax payments.

While the report doesn’t identify a specific financing option, it does note that several state and federal grants, as well as tax credits, could help lower the price.

Rollins hopes this type of green initiative can be continued throughout the WFPS master plan to replace, renovate and shore up aging local fire stations, as well as other city projects.

“We are at the start of a major capital plan at the Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Service and…incorporating green building practices is the right thing to do and if they can raise funds for the capital plan , so much the better,” Rollins said. .

Twitter: @joyanne_pursaga

Joyanne Pursaga

Joyanne Pursaga

Born and raised in Winnipeg, Joyanne loves telling the stories of this city, especially when it comes to politics. Joyanne became a reporter at City Hall for the Winnipeg Free Press in early 2020.