A new home for Wallingford’s North Farms Volunteer Fire Department has been a long time coming, but it’s moving ahead in the approval process. The Inland Wetlands and Watercourses Commission is expected to discuss and possibly approve the firehouse plan next month, and all needed approvals could be in hand by November, in time for the work to go out to bid this winter.Cold-weather construction does present problems, but contractors often bid lower in the winter in order to keep their crews busy through the slow months, and that could save the town money on a project expected to cost $6.6 million. The 11.2-acre property, formerly a dairy farm, was the site of the town’s first volunteer fire company, almost 70 years ago.Fire officials have said that an expanded and upgraded station is needed for the area, which has seen a rise in calls over the years, particularly emergency medical calls. The new station will house an ambulance in addition to fire engines.Another thing that could save the town some money over the long haul is the use of geothermal heating and cooling. The department is awaiting an analysis on the potential payback period of a system that would pump a liquid through underground pipes to pick up heat in winter and remove heat in summer. Orienting the building to face south will also help by taking advantage of passive solar heating.With a little luck, people in the area could have a shiny new fire station — complete with an ambulance and some energy-saving technology — sometime next year.This could improve emergency response times.It will certainly assure residents of the area that they’ll be well protected for years to come.