Canada’s first-ever emission-free fire hall was recently celebrated in Vancouver.

The state-of-the-art facility, located at the intersection of 55th Avenue and Knight Street, opened in April 2022 but had its official recognition ceremony on Wednesday. Fire Chief Karen Fry and Mayor Ken Sim, alongside city councillors and both serving and retired firefighters, attended the event.

Fry expressed gratitude for the fire hall’s positive impact on the community and environment, highlighting its benefits for both firefighters and the reduction of carbon footprint.

Built to Passive House standards, the fire hall is superbly insulated, airtight, and recovers exhaust air heat for incoming air pre-warming. It uses minimal energy for heating the building and offers superior indoor air quality through proper ventilation and filtration.

The fully electric hall obtains all its energy from clean hydro power, with solar panels covering its roof. The building also uses heat pump technology to produce as much energy as it consumes annually. Special windows equipped with sun sensors pre-tint to minimize excessive heat, reducing reliance on air conditioning and enhancing the cooling capabilities of the heat pump.

Mayor Ken Sim expressed awe at the technological advancements. Sim told attendees, “I was blown away when I heard this — it reduces the operational carbon emissions by 99.7 per cent compared to the building it replaced.”

The spacious hall features four bays, ample storage, a well-equipped kitchen, and a decontamination room. It also provides various amenities such as individual sleeping quarters, a gym, a lounge, and meeting spaces.

Additionally, the building is designed to withstand earthquakes and serve as a hub during post-disaster situations.

Currently staffed with eight firefighters, the hall can accommodate up to twelve. No. 2 hall in the Downtown Eastside operates with a larger team of 14 firefighters. A temporary building used during the construction of No. 17 hall will eventually be relocated to serve as an annex to No. 2 hall on Gore Street.

According to Vancouver Is Awesome, Vancouver has undertaken several innovative initiatives in recent years with its fire department. In Champlain Heights, a recently redesigned fire hall incorporated housing into its structure.

In addition, plans are currently in place to replace fire hall No. 9 on Victoria Drive in Grandview-Woodland and fire hall No. 8 in Yaletown. Both replacements will adhere to Passive House standards and include social housing and a child-care facility, respectively.

Moreover, in an unprecedented move, an all-electric pumper truck is set to arrive in Vancouver later this fall. This truck will operate out of the fire department’s main hall in Strathcona.

All in all, Vancouver’s fire department is exemplifying the city’s dedication to environmental stewardship and sustainable living.

Image Source: Mike Klassen,