Citizen Action Monitor

Dublin Fire Station’s model Green Plan slashes CO2 emissions, becomes first carbon neutral station in world

Green Plan dramatically cuts carbon footprint and impact on environment, achieves significant cost savings

No 946 Posted by fw, January 5, 2014

While others talk, talk, talk and talk some more about what MUST BE DONE about climate change, can-do Dublin fire fighter, Neil McCabe, rolled up his sleeves and did it. But McCabe is no ordinary bloke. Inferring from published documents, he is technologically savvy, appears to have the essential leadership qualities, research abilities, and requisite project planning and management skills to translate good intentions into a rigorous planning approach that delivers results — an approach that features –

  • A comprehensive assessment of existing infrastructure, resources and services
  • Creation of a planning team
  • Team-crafted strategic vision / mission, core goals, guiding principles and assumptions
  • Preparation of implementation matrix detailing for each and every action item, due dates, success criteria, estimated costs, and names of who’s accountable
  • Regular progress reviews of action items, documenting progress towards achievement and action step revisions as needed

Having personally had extensive project planning and management training and experience in my own career, working for the Canadian federal government and for academic institutions, I can easily recognize and appreciate the difference that McCabe’s leadership qualities, knowledge, and skill set made in contributing to his amazing success.

What follows is the reorganized, slightly modified content of a handy two-page leaflet outlining the essential ingredients of the Dublin Fire Station’s Green Plan, including a summary of Facts, Actions, and Achievements subsumed under the plan’s seven themes.

Green Plan in Kilbarrack Fire Station


About the Green Plan

Vision– Dublin Fire Brigade is committed not only to delivering an efficient and effective Fire, Emergency Ambulance and Rescue Service but also it is the Brigade’s vision to become world leaders of sustainability and recognized for their championing of energy and water consumption reduction, waste prevention, biodiversity protection and impacts on society. We intend to maximize our low carbon future and to empower people to effect change in our Fire Brigade and the local community itself.

Goals — To achieve this vision Dublin Fire Brigade has created a Green Plan which embraces a sustainable approach that will use world’s best practices, forward thinking and new technologies to:

  • Significantly reduce energy and water consumption:
  • Prevent and reduce the volume of domestic waste created:
  • Save money by reducing the energy costs by up to 80%:
  • And to create a Carbon Neutral Fire Station that can trade Carbon Credits.

Kilbarrack Fire Station has been named as the Flagship in the Sustainability Report 2010 for Dublin City Council and is fully aligned with the sustainability policy objectives as set out by the Corporate Plan and the draft Dublin City Development Plan 2011-2017.

Overview — The Green Plan is a means to secure a better understanding of sustainability and the production of greenhouse gases. It is a comprehensive station plan outlining the problems identified, the actions taken and to be undertaken and the achievements attained to date under the following seven themes: Energy, Water, Waste, Biodiversity, Transport, Society, and Procurement.


  • Fact: The station used to produce 65 ton of CO2 emissions and the gas boiler was 68% energy inefficient.
  • Action: A new heat management system has been installed with advanced controls in tandem with two new gas condensing boilers.
  • Achievement: Electricity consumption in Kilbarrack Fire Station has been reduced by 80%


  • Fact: Kilbarrack Fire Station used to consume 5,000 litres of water per day.
  • Action: Rainwater harvesting system installed, which now provides the water for the fire engine.
  • Achievement: Kilbarrack Fire Station now collects 14,000 litres of water per week from the rainwater harvesting system.


  • Fact: Kilbarrack Fire Station used to leak out over 10 ton of CO2 each year through its building fabric. In addition 100% of consumables produced in the station were going to landfill.
  • Action: The station has been retrofitted with sustainably sourced, certified wooden doors, doorframes, windows, window frames and window panels.
  • Achievement: Kilbarrack Fire Station retrofit has reduced the carbon emissions from the building envelope by 10 ton per annum. We now recycle 40% of all station waste.


  • Fact: Kilbarrack Fire Station had four key land areas that were not utilised and were difficult to maintain.
  • Action: A Biodiversity Action plan was developed and implemented for the station.
  • Achievement: Kilbarrack Fire Station now has four dedicated gardens on site protecting the eco systems that they have helped to create and nurture.


  • Facts: (1)  Dublin Fire Brigade’s fleet has been running on standard fossil fuel diesel. (2)  The station staff primarily used private motor vehicle transport to travel to and from work.
  • Action: A report on Biodiesel for Dublin Fire Brigade’s fleet was researched and produced. This report recommends the recycling of used cooking oil on site, which is then blended off site to produce 30% Blend Biodiesel.
  • Achievement: Kilbarrack Fire Station is currently piloting a trial of 30% Blend Biodiesel in its frontline emergency tender. 30% of staff now use a bicycle to travel to work.


  • Fact: In the local community Dublin Fire Brigade’s interaction has predominately been responding to emergencies and promoting fire safety awareness. Interaction within the internal community is usually geared towards serving members.
  • Action: Kilbarrack Fire Station has expanded its role in the community utilising outreach projects and engaged the
    services of retired members in the biodiversity projects.
  • Achievement: The successful interaction between retired members and station staff has enabled completion of Dublin
    Fire Brigade’s commemorative garden for deceased members.


  • Facts: (1)  Emergency Ambulance equipment had previously been delivered to the Brigade excessively packaged. (2)  Station groceries were purchased adding to food mile production.
  • Action: A green agenda has been incorporated into the tender process for Emergency Ambulance equipment. Station groceries are now sourced locally.
  • Achievement: The Emergency Ambulance equipment is now delivered directly with less packaging reducing the volume of domestic waste created. Local sourcing has in itself reduced CO2 emissions from food miles.

Acknowledgement– The implementation of the Green Plan would not have been possible without the dedication and commitment of both the current and retired staff in Kilbarrack Fire Station. Firefighters and Officers have bought into the idea of a shared responsibility for their Fire Station and this ethos is reflected in the behavioural changes in the staff which has been a fundamental driving force in the success of the Green Plan.

Kilbarrack Fire Station Staff

Neil McCabe is last man on the right

Neil McCabe is last man on the right


FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog, Citizen Action Monitor, may contain copyrighted material that may not have been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. I claim no ownership of such materials. Such material, published without profit, is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues. It is published in accordance with the provisions of the 2004 Supreme Court of Canada ruling and its six principle criteria for evaluating fair dealing.

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