Besides having a new building that comfortably fits equipment and fire fighters, the Central Fire District in Menan, Idaho, enjoys lower utility bills. That’s because a dome’s concrete construction and insulation yield 30 percent more energy efficiency than conventional buildings. It’s a cost savings all commercial customers can expect.
“We typically see a two-fold savings in energy costs when comparing a dome to conventional construction,” said Dome Technology project manager Daren Wheeler. “The first is the initial costs in HVAC equipment, which is reduced by 30 to 50 percent. The second is in your monthly bill for heating or cooling, which again can easily be 30 percent.”
Besides costing less to build and operate, domes are also cost efficient. All domes are built with locally available concrete and reinforcing steel. Their double curvature requires fewer construction materials with significantly less waste. And a dome can be built quickly; one the outer weatherproof membrane is in place, construction moves inside where building continues regardless of the weather.
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Menan Fire Station: Facts and features
Overall building facts:
- Windspeed overhead doors can withstand: 120 mph
- Thickness of wall at base: 8” CMU stem wall
- Dome thickness at apex: 4.5”
- Lot size: 249’ X 184’ or 45,816 square feet
- Height of stem wall: 17’ 4”
- How tall is dome: 31’ 8”
- Pounds of rebar in the CMU walls: 20,000
- Pounds of rebar in the dome shell (roof): Around 50,000 lbs
- Post-tensioning allows the roof to be built flatter, producing a less conspicuous domed roof that still provides the strength of a dome.
- The fire station was designed after a storm-shelter concept Dome Technology has built all over the country, dozens of them located in the tornado belt and Gulf Coast. Although not considered a storm shelter at present, this fire station can withstand high wind events and the threat of roof collapse.
- Concrete construction and insulation yield 30 percent more energy efficiency than conventional buildings.
- Clock tower
- Drainage in parking lots
- Integrated parapet gutter system that directs precipitation away from the foundation
- Office for filing reports following incidents
- A diesel-powered generator behind the kitchen to maintain power should electricity go down
- Bathrooms with full showers
- Conference room: 1,072 square feet. Includes full audiovisual system for trainings and public events.
- Storage closet for tables and chairs under stairs
- Upstairs area: 2,349 square feet. Includes mechanical room and can house future living quarters as needed.
- 4,731 square feet
- Five bays. Fire trucks are getting bigger, so the space was designed for the biggest trucks in the Central Fire District.
- Lockers located on wall opposite overhead doors
- Two large fans to circulate air to dry equipment and trucks
- Decontamination shower for post-fire cleaning
- Laundry area
- Compressor room for refilling oxygen tanks
- Multiple entry points so volunteers can enter the building quickly regardless of where they park
- Trench drain centrally located for washing trucks
- Button for the siren used in the original station
- Before radio was available, the firefighter living at the station would alert the townspeople of fire by sounding the alarm; neighbors came running to help put out the flames. Now the alarm will be used for kicking off events like the annual Easter-egg hunt and could still function as a town warning system.