Sustainable Development

Arctos & Bird is committed to protecting – and enhancing – the human and natural environment. It is, of course, easiest to accomplish this goal when redeveloping a site with old buildings not worthy of repair. Cave Avenue Homes and Bison Courtyard fit that description, and are therefore our best showpieces for sustainable development. Let's take a closer look.

The Bison Courtyard integrates a number of environmental strategies. We used fly ash, a waste product from Alberta’s coal-fired power plants, as a substitute for cement. The wood is Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified and sourced from the nearby Kootenays. You’ll find rundlestone from local quarries in the retaining wall, exterior columns and in landscaping. Use of all these local resources had an added bonus of reducing both economic and environmental transportation costs.

On an ongoing basis:

  • An impressive building envelope and triple-glazed windows minimize the need to heat and cool the building. The building is designed to maximize daylight, making it a more pleasant place to be.
  • Snow and storm water are directed to a storage tank located below the parking ramp. The tank collects roughly 350,000 litres of water annually for use in onsite toilets and irrigation.
  • An interpretive well in the parkade of the Courtyard serves as reminder of groundwater right beneath us; and the consequences of what we allow to seep into the ground.
  • Composting toilets allow human wastes to be converted into nutrient-rich compost, which can be used to fertilize plants onsite. All other toilets are dual-flush. Urinals are waterless.

According to the Town of Banff, food waste accounts for almost 70% of the commercial material sent to the landfill. They further estimate that almost half of the other garbage sent to the landfill could be recycled. That makes Bison Courtyard’s recycling initiative and on-site composting even more meaningful. Clearly, it is not yet standard practice to take these simple actions.

We look forward to a time when all of our properties are as sustainable as possible. In meantime, we continue to look for opportunities to make practical, meaningful changes. At Olympic and Caribou, we’ve started the process by upgrading their building envelopes and HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) systems.