The fire department serving Spring Lake Park, Blaine and Mounds View, Minn., is a leader in fire prevention and emergency response training. In the fall of 2006, the three municipalities opened a new state-of-the-art fire station in Blaine. The $4.7 million facility includes a large training center and meeting rooms, with the latest in audio-visual equipment and firefighting simulators. When it came to space conditioning, the cities chose leading-edge technology: an energy-efficient geothermal system, designed by Steen Engineering, which handled all HVAC, plumbing and electrical design for the new station.
Steen engineered a 60-ton closed-loop geothermal system, taking advantage of earth’s constant temperature to heat and cool the 34,000 sq. ft. building. Water circulates through a field of 60 130-foot deep vertical wells either absorbing or rejecting heat. Individual air heat pumps distribute heating and cooling to the various zones within the facility – usually providing both to different rooms simultaneously.
A radiant in-floor heating system was designed for the station’s apparatus bay and occupies half the building space. The bay houses emergency vehicles, an alarm room and truck wash. Adjacent to the apparatus bay is a 210 kW emergency generator, designed to keep the station operating in the event of a power outage.
From the start, the three city councils and fire chief were committed to geothermal heating and cooling, optimizing the facility’s energy efficiency. Thanks to annual energy savings generated by the new geothermal system, its payback period should be less than 12 years.