Another Step for Dublin’s First Carbon Neutral Fire Station

31 Aug 2011

A new partnership between Dublin Fire Brigade and the Jack & Jill Children’s Foundation has been announced to collect and recycle old mobile phones and computer games to raise money for home nursing care for sick children. Mobile phones are a real currency for Jack & Jill; particularly iPhones / Smartphones. For every 80 iPhones /Smartphones donated to the Jack & Jill Foundation, the nationwide nursing team can provide home nursing care and respite for one family for one whole year. 

This is just another of the success stories for Kilbarrack Fire Station who are taking the lead on this new initiative and who were visited recently by members of the ICSID Jury to hear from Fireman Neil McCabe at first hand about an innovative approach to sustainable living via their ambitious and inclusive Green Plan. The Plan defines and monitors 16 actions to reduce carbon emission, energy consumption, water use and waste. It also aims to enhance biodiversity, transport, society and procurement in a sustainable way. The results are monitored every year and cost savings from the actions are then ring-fenced for new technologies for the Fire Station and for outreach programmes across the community. The inspiration came from Neil McCabe’s desire to create a better living environment, which in turn would lead to a more connected life for those living and working at the Fire Station. Significantly, he made the link between innovative ideas and the potential reach of active public services. Starting with a series of small changes such as recycling batteries, tackling waste and growing their own food they can now proudly point to an impressive list of achievements:

  • Water consumption in the Fire Station has been reduced by 1,500,000 litres per annum, reducing costs by 90%. 80% of the hot water is produced by the thermodynamic panels.
  • 40% of all station waste is recycled.
  • 100% of the glass, paper, plastic, tin and organic waste is recycled or composted.
  • Electricity consumption has been reduced by 80%.
  • A comprehensive report on ‘30% Blend Biodiesel from Used Cooking Oil’ for Dublin Fire Brigades Fleet of frontline emergency vehicles has been produced.

Previously the U Value reading for the whole Fire Station was higher than 10. Now, it is below .09. This is a KwHr energy saving of over 70% and a reduction in over 170 litres of oil burned to produce heat and energy. A green agenda has been incorporated into the tender process for Emergency and Ambulance equipment. The Fire Brigade is now involved in educational workshops in the schools of the district, teaching fire safety as well as biodiversity and sustainable development. Four wasteland areas have been converted to biodiversity gardens protecting insect habitats and eco systems. This includes: two beehives; an allotment which provides food; and Dublin Fire Brigade’s First Commemorative Garden for Deceased Members. This garden was built by retired and active fire crew in their own time, using funds saved thanks to the Green Plan. This lovely place for reflection for families and friends is the first deceased members’ garden in the fire service’s 150-year history. With their communal nature, the shared responsibility of the job and the constant presence of people due to shift work, fire stations are just like homes. Neil is now preparing Green Plans for all the Fire Stations nationally, for the local communities of Donaghmede and Kilbarrack, and is actively engaging with partners across the City Council region.