Firefighters showcase solar energy project

UPPER LAHAVE, NOVA SCOTIA - While most would associate the colour red with the fire service, one Lunenburg County firehouse is showing its green side.

A public open house at the Dayspring fire station will showcase renovations completed to the hall, truck bays and $17,000 worth of renewable energy upgrades.

The southwest side of the station was recently fitted with two types of solar panels.

There are two, 4' x 8' hot air solar panels which see outside air drawn through a fan and warm air circulated into the hall, said Frank Fawson, associate member and treasurer of Dayspring fire department and municipal councillor for the area.

The fan is controlled by a thermostat.

There's also a larger thermo-solar panel between the outdoor hot air panels. It's used for domestic hot water heating and powers via sunlight and is connected by lines extending to a solar boiler in the furnace room.

"The solar boiler is basically a heat exchanger," Mr. Fawson explains.

It's proven technology that's expected to save thousands of dollars the department's been spending on furnace oil and electricity.

"That gives us more resources to put towards our primary purpose here to protect life and property," Mr. Fawson said.

The hope is the department is also assuming a leadership role in the community in its move to renewable energy, Mr. Fawson added, while helping reduce its own carbon footprint.

The Dayspring project was one of six projects given provincial government funding in September from the ecoNova Scotia fund for Clean Air and Climate Change, a fund used for greenhouse gas and air pollutant-reducing projects. The fire department was given $8,694.

The public open house takes place November 21 between 2 and 4 p.m. Manufacturers and local suppliers of the solar energy equipment will be present to answer questions.

"It's a solar demonstration project," Mr. Fawson said, inviting people to check out the gear.

The public is also encouraged to check out a modest expansion to the building and renovation to make room for a new truck and upgraded bathroom facilities in the hall.


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