As an essential emergency service, there are pretty strict requirements that a fire station must meet for day to day and emergency operations. All fire stations are Importance Level 4 (IL4) buildings. They must be operational immediately after an earthquake or other disastrous events, as critical post-disaster infrastructure.
The structural resilience of an IL4 building is clearly a critical aspect. So too is the resilience of basic services such as hot water and power. Apricus was asked by Fire and Emergency New Zealand (FENZ) to provide a hot water system for the new Redwood Fire Station in Christchurch that would reduce day to day costs and environmental impact while providing enhanced resilience should the worst happen.
The Apricus solar hot water system delivers exactly this, reducing Redwood’s annual energy use for hot water by 60% or 5,244kWh. This makes a significant dent in the station’s running costs and associated carbon emissions.
Some significant aspects of the system design make it particularly well suited to critical, high importance buildings:
- If mains power fails the Apricus solar system continues to operate seamlessly; delivering up to 4,000W of energy to the cylinders while only requiring 62W to run
- There are no batteries required or other potentially hazardous materials that would need careful, safe containment in an IL4 building
- Hot water is guaranteed 24/7, no matter how terrible the weather, with a solar preheat / electric reheat cylinder specification
- Apricus systems are very energy-intense, delivering 4kW peak output from two collectors, covering just 8m² of roof area
- Live monitoring provides key FENZ personnel with regular reports on hot water use, solar energy harvested and immediate emails in case of problems with hot water supply
Since starting the project in November, FENZ has been so pleased with the outcomes that Apricus systems have been specified on two more new fire stations that are under construction — Pukete in Hamilton and Ilam in Christchurch. The potential for retrofits in existing fire stations is also being explored.
When you have a project that uses hot water, wants to reduce its environmental impact and improve its resilience, get in touch with Apricus.