Calgary’s University District, a 200-acre community that features a variety of housing options, services, amenities and public spaces, is the largest residential project in Canadian history to earn Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Platinum certification for Neighbourhood Development (LEED-ND).
“Our goal from the very beginning was to create a sustainable and vibrant community that residents felt proud of and the surrounding communities supported,” said James Robertson, West Campus Development Trust president and CEO, in a press release. “We scrutinized every detail of the community in the planning stages to be certain that we were creating a legacy community that would change the way communities in Calgary, and the rest of the country, were built in the future.”
LEED certification is awarded in Canada by the Canada Green Building Council. (CaGBC) based on various principles and practices that demonstrate how the development reduces the environmental impact of its construction and operation. The community was awarded the designation for excellence in its location, design and green building.
The community plan features functional locations with housing available close to jobs, diverse uses of space, protection of endangered species and ecological communities’ conservation, habitat restoration and long-term conservation management.
The walkable community was designed to be affordable for a range of incomes. The neighbourhood includes mixed-use buildings, a neighbourhood centre, a reduced parking footprint, public and recreational spaces throughout the neighbourhood, tree-lined and shaded streets, access to transit facilities, intentional connection to bike and foot transport pathways and bike storage.
To achieve a green building standard, the development conserves water both inside buildings with water-efficient fixtures, and outside, by using native and drought-tolerating greenery in landscaping. It has also created solutions for activity pollution prevention, solid waste management, storm water management, using recycled content in infrastructure, light pollution reduction, integrated pest management through landscaping and ongoing green education.
The LEED for Neighbourhood Development (LEED-ND) rating system was developed by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) to guide and assess sustainable community developments that will be registered and certified through the Green Business Certification Institute (GBCI). Together, these two organizations work together to ensure the certification process serves the needs in Canadian project terms.