Station Design: LEED, Green and Sustainability

May 15, 2019
Lynn Reda of Hughes Group Architects spoke at the Station Design Conference about LEED certification and creating environmentally friendly and sustainable fire stations.

When it comes to building new fire stations, departments aren't just concerned with making sure their facilities provide a practical work space for firefighters. Officials need to weigh a variety of factors in creating these facilities, and more and more, that includes incorporating firehouses with a green design.     

During her session at the 2019 Station Design Conference in Rosemont, IL, Lynn Reda of Hughes Group Architects discussed what can go into creating environmentally friendly and sustainable stations.

What's LEED?

LEED—or Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design—is a voluntary international rating and certification system designed to provide "a framework to create healthy, highly efficient and cost-saving green buildings," Reda said Wednesday. Not only does the system strive to create buildings designed to contribute less to global climate change, it also tries to enhance the health and quality of life for occupants and the community. 

To be eligible for certification, a building project must follow environmental ordinances and meet other prerequisites in the planning and development process. Points then are awarded for meeting the requirements outlined across specific credit categories, such as:

  • Location and transportation
  • Sustainable sites
  • Water efficiency
  • Energy and atmosphere
  • Materials and resources
  • Indoor environmental quality
  • Integrative process
  • Innovation

Finally, those points are added up to determine a building's rating:

  • Certified: 40 to 49 points
  • Silver: 50 to 59 points
  • Gold: 60 to 79 points
  • Platinum: 80-plus points


The International Green Construction Code is a model code designed to fit into a jurisdiction's building regulations with the intent being to reduce the effects of climate change. The code—which is in use in 14 states and the District of Columbia—also provides "an on-ramp" to LEED certification, with certain IGCC measures aligning with specific credit categories in the rating system, according to Reda.

The International Energy Conservation Code is another model code, but this one focuses on a building's energy efficiency, incorporating mandatory limits on lighting and electrical consumption. California and Indiana are the only states not to adopt the code.

What's the Cost?

Reda cited a recent survey showing that "going green" adds about 17 percent to a building's cost on average. She also broke down some of the expenses potentially involved in creating an environmentally friendly facility.

  • LEED registration fees: $1,500
  • LEED certification fees: $3,650
  • Percentage of professional fees, design: 5 to 10 percent for both LEED and IGCC
  • Percentage of professional fees, documentation: 8 to 10 percent for LEED; 3 to 5 percent for IGCC

The key to earning the best return on investment with a new station comes from incorporating green elements early on in the process, Reda said.

And ultimately, departments building environmentally responsible, energy-efficient stations will be able to see their investments paid back over time, she added.

About the Author

Joe Vince | Assistant Editor – News

Joining Endeavor Business Media in 2018, Joe was the new editor for and now serves as the assistant editor of Before starting at Endeavor, Joe had worked for a variety of print and online news outlets, including the Indianapolis Star, the South Bend Tribune, Reddit and

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