Fire and Emergency Services Training InstituteEdit profile
Fire and Emergency Services Training Institute Toronto Pearson International Airport, Toronto, Ontario, Canada When the Greater Toronto Airports Authority (GTAA) chose to pursue LEEDâ„¢ certification for its new Fire and Emergency Services Training Institute (FESTI), it accepted the challenge of constructing their first certified building as an example of their commitment to sustainable building technology and willingness to be held to the high standards of the LEEDâ„¢ process. The completed project is comprised of the school itself, administration offices, apparatus and vehicle bays and three training structures located on Toronto Pearson International Airport’s property. The Institute achieves the LEED standards by incorporating readily available low and high tech building technologies in innovative ways into every part of the building design to improve not only its environmental and economic performance, but also its functionality and architectural design. The complex was designed to take full advantage of the site, in terms of views, natural daylight, solar and wind exposure. The interface of the classroom and cafeteria areas, the formal, public rooms, with the administrative and service areas, the private rooms, developed a strong, figuratively and literally inhabitable wall that mitigates between the rigid geometry of the private spaces and the exuberant public spaces. This presents an edge, a boundary between public and private and informs the visitor, without signage, how to move through the building. The clarity of the plan and the complexity of the section create volumetric experiences that are dynamic and varied. Careful consideration was given to the design of the massing, exterior finishes and the lighting sources of the elements for day or night response, given the LEED considerations and the location of the project within an airport, adjacent to a runway and visible from the sky during take-off and landing. Transparency, permeability and solidity are explored for both practical and aesthetic purposes. The integration of solar shading, a vegetated roof, a thermal solar wall, an integrated heat recovery system from the mass of the concrete and natural ventilation features are identifiable architectural responses to responsible building practices. Exterior cladding and assemblies of the FESTI, including a green roof that extends from the upper catwalk of the Cafeteria to the ground, integrating the building with the natural landscape of the site, high emissive roofing on flat roof sections, and the perforated siding assembly of the Cafeteria wall and roof all contribute to architectural and ecological literacy . The south-western face is clad with SolarWall® technology, a simple assembly of perforated metal siding with a conductive black finish. The cavity between the perforated siding and the sheet metal liner traps air, which is then heated by the energy captured by the black finish. The force of convection either feeds the heated air into the building’s air handling system through a simple plenum and fan and used for heating, or directed away from the exterior wall with dampers, contributing to cooling. This simple yet effective innovation of preheating exterior intake air for free, reduces annual heating costs by $2-$8 dollars per square foot of the collector, and delivers annual CO2 savings of 1 ton per 5 square meters of collector), while its cost is comparable to that of a brick wall. Natural ventilation, a key design component of the building, contributes to the improved efficiency in heating and cooling, as well as providing a more comfortable and healthier environment for the Institute’s staff, students and visitors. Other architectural elements, such as a second-storey courtyard, double wall stack effect ventilation wall, exterior solar shades, volume articulation and operable windows minimize stale air in the building and promote constant air circulation. At the heart of the building’s HVAC system is a radiant heating and cooling system originating in Sweden and branded as TermoDeck®. As opposed to conventional forced air systems, TermoDeck® is a low-pressure system that uses hollow core concrete slabs to distribute air and take advantage of the thermal mass of the building for heating and cooling the air. On the ground floor, the same channeling of air through the poured floor slab recreates the TermoDeck® thermal mass effect. Up to 70% of the heating or cooling of rooms is through this radiant effect, directly heating or cooling the occupants rather than the air around them with the stored thermal mass, not conditioned air. This is an extremely efficient system, continuously monitored by computer sensors located in the hollow core slabs that direct the flow of heated or cooled air to each room, and increase the flow of fresh air to occupied rooms by reading CO2 level fluctuations. With the exception of extreme temperatures, the TermoDeck® system uses one hundred percent fresh air, whereas conventional systems can use as little as ten to fifteen percent. The result is a constant temperature in the building, without the introduction of blasts of hot or cold air that occur in normal forced air systems, and a circulation of air with a much higher oxygen content. All public projects, without deference to the cost, size or program, need to be championed by architects. Complexity is not compromise but an opportunity that challenges manufacturing, research and development, public officials, clients, architects, engineers, contractors and finally the general public to engage in an iterative and interactive process that takes time and substantial commitment. Architecture is a unique vehicle within the current world crisis that brings together all of these interests daily in a real and identifiable way and Canadian architecture is in the fortunate political and economic position to serve as the exemplar.