Thermapan Structural Insulated Panels

City of Welland Fire Stations

Project Overview

Size21,000 sq.ft + 7,000 sq.ft.
LocationWelland, Ontario
Architect/EngineersDPAI Architecture / Kearnes Mancini Architects

Thermapan SIPs at the core of city’s fire station modernization strategy

Fire stations aren’t particularly energy efficient. Large garage doors that constantly open and close let a lot of climatized air escape, which makes it challenging to keep the rest of the station at a consistent temperature, efficiently.

When the City of Welland Ontario decided to replace two old fire halls and two old rural volunteer stations, architects specified Thermapan Structural Insulated Panels for the new building design. The move greatly enhances the energy efficiency of the Welland fire department compared to old decommissioned buildings.

So much so that the $18 million price tag on two brand new fire stations may even be recouped within 10 years.

The new headquarter building on East Main Street comprises over 21,000 square feet of space, with the garage representing nearly half that total area. The garage is flanked by a two storey wing on the west side and a 1 story wing on the east. The exterior walls of both wings, including those adjacent to the garage area, are built with ultra-energy efficient SIPs.

300 SIPs panels were used for the walls of the new headquarters. The 8.25″ panels deliver an impressive R-performance rating of R-48.

But it’s not just the R-rating of the SIPs that delivers exceptional energy efficiency. The closed cell nature of the EPS insulation combined with gap-free installation methods provide superior air tightness for those two wings, especially important when the bay doors of the adjacent garage keep letting cold air in the winter and hot, humid air in the summer.

The SIPs themselves are highly structural, engineered to support heavy loads. Design tables are readily available to incorporate splines and beams for particularly heavy point loads, using either lumber or LVL materials.

The second new station is smaller than the headquarter building, as it doesn’t require the same amount of office space or training facilities as the headquarters. But coming in at almost 7,000 sq.ft., it is still a substantial project, involving over 150 panels.

The two builds were overseen by METTKO as the lead contractor with DiSabatino Construction Management handling the SIP installation. Different architects designed the two stations. DPAI Architecture designed the headquarter building, while Kearnes Mancini Architects designed Station 2. Both station designs ended up specking SIPs to ensure a better build.

The City of Welland is planning to build a new Station 3 in the next few years, at which point the three new buildings will have consolidated all five of the fire department’s outdated stations.

Thermapan SIPs have been used extensively in all types of commercial buildings, including for school boards and libraries in the public sector. “We’re proud to now add two fire stations in our portfolio,” says Jeff Taraba, vice president of Thermapan. “It’s great to see that Welland’s brave firefighters will be able to enjoy state-of-the-art facilities for many years to come.”