PHOENIX FIRE STATION TAKES ADVANTAGE OF ALL MASONRY HAS TO OFFER
LEED Platinum Phoenix Fire Station 59 is located on a large 3.5 acre site in an industrial neighborhood of southwest Phoenix. Contemporary design responds to the southwest desert environment as well as to the surrounding industrial context consisting of warehouses and large cylindrical shaped fuel farm structures. Protection of millions of gallons of fuel stored in super large tanks on these surrounding fuel farms is the primary mission of Phoenix Station 59.
Natural materials are used for both the station and apparatus storage buildings, including locally manufactured integrallycolored ground face concrete block units, steel and perforated metal which further relate to the industrial buildings near the site.
Fire stations are 24-7-365 buildings and need to be functional, tough and always ready. Distinctively pigmented ground faced masonry is the primary, reliable material for both buildings. Use of ground faced concrete masonry units on the exterior and interior walls of both the Fire Station and Apparatus & Foam Storage Buildings provided numerous benefits and advantages over other wall systems such as steel, ICF, stucco, wood or concrete. The integrally-colored ground face CMU conveys an image of timelessness and solidity and enhances the contemporary aesthetics while providing functional qualities of structure, thermal mass, sound isolation, durability and low maintenance. From inception, a critical aspect was its overall sustainability and incorporation of green building techniques. The use of locally-manufactured masonry throughout played an important role in achieving this goal and earning LEED Platinum certification under LEED for New Construction, version 2.2.
Energy and Atmosphere
Post-tensioned integrally pigmented ground face CMU at the exterior walls of the living quarters eliminated the need for standard vertical reinforcing and grouted cells. Instead, it allowed for all of the larger masonry cells to be filled with polyurethane foam insulation with an R-value of 19. This system, combined with a 1-1/2” layer of rigid foil faced polyisocyanurate insulation board on the interior face of the masonry provided, an R33 total wall cavity insulation value, much higher than the typically grouted CMU wall structure. The increased R-value, lower thermal bridging of the H block and its excellent thermal mass properties used in numerous interior walls of this project helped significantly increase the overall energy efficiency of the structure. Increased energy efficiency due to the post-tensioned masonry wall system contributed to earning seven points (of 10 possible) for the Optimize Energy Performance credit.
Increased energy efficiency due to the post-tensioned masonry wall system contributed to earning seven points (of 10 possible) for the Optimize Energy Performance credit.
Materials and Resources
Another sustainable design benefit was that all of the CMU, reinforcing steel, mortar and grout was locally harvested and manufactured within 20 miles of the project site, reducing environmental impacts from transportation and contributing to the two points earned in the Regional Materials credit. Because masonry is completely recyclable, its use contributed to the two points earned for diverting at least 75% of waste from disposal for the Construction Waste Management credits. Today it is typical for masonry materials to incorporate recycled content from their own production cycles as well as of other industries, thereby contributing to the two possible points earned for the Recycled Content credit.
Pervious concrete pavers at the parking areas have high solar reflectance indexes helping to lower summer night-time temperatures, reducing heat island effect and also acts as a natural stormwater filter, contributing to points in both Heat Island Effect-non roof and Stormwater Designquantity control.
Single-wythe, integrally-colored ground face CMU was a primary contributor to achieving the sustainability goals and green building techniques the City of Phoenix desired for this desert fire station. Additionally, the contemporary aesthetic, thermal mass benefits, sound isolation and low maintenance ensured masonry was the best material for the job.
Indoor Environmental Quality
The exposed masonry walls and concrete floors on the interior contribute to the Thermal Comfort-Design credit because of the thermal mass effect of absorbing and storing heat/cold and slowly releasing it back into the space, maintaining thermal comfort throughout the day with minimal energy loss to the exterior. Additionally, masonry emits no volatile organic compounds and does not require adhesives, sealants, paint or coatings that would be high-emitting, allowing the project to earn points in both Low- Emitting Materials credits.
The masonry wall systems contributed significantly to the owner and occupants satisfaction. The project earned 52 of 69 possible LEED points with masonry contributing to 18. It features many benefits in addition to those that contributed to the LEED certification. Walls are durable and stand up to the heavy use and traffic produced by firefighters 24 hours a day/7 days a week with little maintenace. They also provide sound isolation desired to ensure sleeping quarters are sufficiently quiet and separated from common areas. They have a high fire-rating and stand up to harsh environmental conditions.
Larry Enyart, FAIA, FSAME, LEED Fellow is design principal, LEA Architects in Phoenix AZ, AIA AZ Sustainable Firm of the Year. LEA has designed many commercial, academic and municipal buildings, especially fire stations, and private residences with an emphasis on sustainability. Enyart is active in his local Arizona and larger southwest region design communities and both the firm LEA Architects and Enyart personally have been recognized with many awards and honors. Enyart served in the US Air Force and earned his Bachelor and Master of Architecture from Arizona State University. firstname.lastname@example.org | 602.943.7511
PHOENIX FIRE STATION 59
Phoenix Fire Department | Phoenix AZ
Architect / LEED Consultant
LEA Architects | Phoenix AZ
Struktur Studio | Scottsdale AZ
Adolfson & Peterson Construction | Tempe AZ
Avila Masonry | Glendale AZ
Integra Wall Systems | Superlite Block, an Oldcastle Company | Spec Mix | Trenwyth
15,000 sf fire station, 6,000 sf apparatus and foam storage building $5.1 million | Completed 2012 | LEED Platinum