Ted Simons: In tonight's focus on sustainability, we look at efforts by the Goodyear fire department to go green. The city of Goodyear was recently honored for its energy efficiency, and the local chapter of the building operators’ managers association ranked Goodyear's fire station as the best among nearly 75 valley public safety facilities. Producer Christina Estes and photographer Steven snow tell us more.
Steven Snow: This was the original station built when we became a full-time fire department, versus a volunteer fire department.
Christina Estes: That was more than 20 years ago. But the memories remain fresh for battalion Chief Russ Braden.
Russ Braden: I worked out of this station in 1996 and grew up right across the street over here less than a half a mile away.
Christina Estes: Goodyear's oldest fire station looks a lot like it did back in 1992, until you look up, way up.
Steven snow: It’s a foam type of roofing with an elastic type coating, that has a reflective quality, and that quality allows for when the sun is shining it reflects off a lot of the heat so we're not absorbing it and that keeps the building a lot more cooler and helps the AC units run more efficiently.
Christina Estes: Thanks to federal stimulus funds, they also installed 12 new care conditioning units.
Kevin Dobson: We came up with a lot of innovative ideas to cut down on energy usage here.
Christina Estes: Like installing motion sensor lighting and programmable thermostats.
Russ Braden: What they have in them is a temperature range. If you go in and say hey, I want to make it cooler or warmer, it locks you out. It won't let you make changes to the thermostat. It has a base setting and that is what it is locked at.
Christina Estes: Braden said closing blinds when they don't need natural light saves energy. So does adding layers other times of the year.
Russ Braden: During the wintertime, we used to run the heaters out in the bay out here. While we don't run those as much unless it is really, really cold now. We all wear sweat shirts or throw a coat on.
Christina Estes: As they hit the road to energy efficiency, Braden explained the direction to his crew.
Russ Braden: You need to think like a homeowner when you're here, would you want to pay a bigger power bill so that you can just have it where you have to have a sweat shirt on in the middle of August sitting in the kitchen? No. You know. We have someone that has to pay the bills. It’s called the taxpayers. You know, everything that we can do to kind of ease the burden for them, it just makes it better for everybody else.
Christina Estes: With the changes, Goodyear expected to cut costs by 4%. They say they topped that.
Kevin Dobson: Over the entire year, we're probably accumulating anywhere from 5% to 8% of a savings on our energy costs here.
Christina Estes: Dobson as that is more than $15,000 a year. The numbers helped Goodyear capture the Kilowatt Krackdown award from the Building Operators Management Association. But they're not done.
Romina Khananisho: We will have to keep looking at our buildings and improving what we're doing. Just because you won one time doesn't mean you're good to go forever. You continue to find more efficient ways every year.
Ted Simons: Goodyear used federal stimulus funds to install A.C. units at two other fire stations, a police station, and city hall.