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Red Trucks Going Green

CEDAR RAPIDS, IA (CBS2/FOX28) The Cedar Rapids Fire Department says the silver lining of the 2008 flood is not only being able to build new fire stations with the latest technology, but also ones that are much more energy efficient.

The US Green Building Council just recently said the Central Fire Station is Platinum LEED Certified, its highest level of distinction.

When the fire department responds to a call at your home, efficiency in their work is key. Now, its no different in their home too.

"That was the goal from the beginning was to be LEED Platinum, said Cedar Rapids Fire Chief Mark English.

You might not even notice some of the pieces to the Platinum Certification puzzle.

"A lot of the LEED points we got were things that we would have done anyway in terms of efficiencies and savings, said English.

Some are easy to miss. There are bike racks, parking for fuel efficient cars and lights and water controlled by motion sensors.

Then there are the parts you cant miss, like the geothermal system, which controls the climate inside the station. The Fire Department says it was one of the most expensive purchases, but will pay for itself within 18 months.

Chief English says the old station was about 26,000 square feet with utilities costing $40,000. The new building is more than double the size, measuring in at 67,000 square feet, and costing only $44,000 to heat and cool.

Just down the street is the Cedar Rapids Public Library which does things like recycle train water off its roof and use extensive natural light in its interior. The Library won a friendly race to open first, but they say the important part is that there are at least two buildings in the city at the same time trying to be green.

"It tells people that we care as a community about these things and it's great to see us not competing but working together and coming out with these superior spaces, said Cedar Rapids Public Library Community Relations Manager Amber Mussman.

The Library says it will know its certification level in early April, but they expect to also receive a Platinum Certification. The fire house is one of nine Platinum stations across the county, but it is the largest and is the only one that is used as the main fire station in a community.
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