A fire station is first and foremost a civic structure. It also doubles as a work space, home base, gym, an indoor training facility and even a public polling place. When designing Madison, Wisconsin’s largest fire station, local OPN Architects
was tasked with addressing each of these program uses in their design – all while meeting the City requirement for low energy use
OPN Architects designed Station #14 with a geothermal energy system, rooftop photovoltaics and translucent daylighting panels, which allowed them to exceed local energy code by 30% to earn LEED Platinum and achieve a 70% reduction in energy use over comparable
Station #14 had to accommodate a specific site orientation for fire trucks leaving the station, which required the main façade to face west. City engineers and OPN Architects wanted to introduce a glass wall for daylighting, but they were concerned
about controlling solar heat gain and glare. Their solution was 2,630-sq.-ft. of Kingspan Light + Air | CPI Daylighting UniQuad® translucent wall panel system.
“We wanted daylighting, but with a west orientation for the main façade of the building, we knew we’d have to work hard to control solar gain and glare,” said architect Mark Kruser, AIA, Project Manager, OPN Architects. “Instead
of all glass, we looked for another material. How could we minimize solar gain and glare? The CPI product really stood out for its qualities of daylighting and energy efficiency. The patterning, and the modularity of the system all worked out
with our design.”
Station #14 features the UniQuad wall system on three elevations, with translucent panels integrated with clear glass on the east and west facades.
“An advantage of the UniQuad system was our ability to integrate it with the glazing/framing system we were using. We have the taller spans and were able to reinforce that from the back. They worked well together,” said Kruser.
The UniQuad system, which helped contribute to Station #14’s LEED Platinum rating, exceeds ASHRAE 90.1/International Energy Conservation Code requirements for commercial building codes. UniQuad panels are certified per NFRC, with a U-factor
insulation value of .28. The two-panel design also significantly improves system durability, and offers superior protection against air and water infiltration, boasting the industry’s best ratio of light transmission to thermal insulation.
Raising the Roof on Madison Fire Station #14
The 19,232-sq.-ft. Station features 6,000-sq.-ft. of community meeting and firefighter training space. During the day, daylight seeps in from the outside, while soft, ambient light illuminates the Station at night, giving it a strong, visible presence
in the community.
In every way, Madison Fire Station #14 exceeds expectations. With a significant energy savings, even surpassing code, and with more than 40% of materials purchased locally, Station #14 has the ability to reach Net Zero tomorrow. At a minimum, though,
Station #14 will be sustainably lit for years to come.