A Bold New Vision for Urban Living in Calgary
University City was developed with an emphasis on the principles of sustainable urban development. Commissioned in 2014, the Multi-Unit Residential Building (MURB) complex focuses on Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) and sustainable design practices. The project is located within the Brentwood LRT Station Area Redevelopment Plan providing convenient access to nearby amenities and within walking distance to public parks, multi-modal urban transit systems, retail and grocery outlets and the University of Calgary. The condominium project caters to a wide demographic offering a bold new vision for urban living in Calgary.
Certifying the complex had its set of challenges given the difficulty in benchmarking utility consumption and implementing targeted retrofits as each unit is separately titled under condominium corporations. Despite these challenges, Equium Group was able to achieve Gold certification. University City obtained the highest scoring application for a condominium complex under BOMA BEST Version 3.0.
Building Initiatives and Green Features of University City:
- A green roof is located above the retail podium of each tower featuring native plant species. Xeriscaping was implemented by Equium Group in order to reduce the requirements for additional irrigation.
- A comprehensive asset management program was implemented by Equium Group focusing on building operations and maintenance, sustainability, capital planning, zero-based budgeting and procurement strategies.
- A resident engagement program was developed for the complex in order to provide the information and resources required for tenants and legal unit owners in order to establish best practices pertaining to environmental stewardship in the built environment.
Energy conservation was an important component for Equium Group’s management strategy of the asset. The management company initiated an energy audit which revealed that common area lighting located across the parkade, mechanical rooms, amenity spaces, emergency stairwells and elevator lobbies provided the potential for material savings with a targeted payback period of 28 months. The projected annual savings of the LED retrofit were estimated at 347,345 kWh in comparison to the conventional lighting system in place. In order to initiate the retrofit project, Equium Group secured a 0% financing arrangement over a 28-month period. In addition, Equium Group was able to leverage a government rebate program further reducing the capital requirements associated to the project.
Equium Group’s mandate was to certify University City through the BOMA BEST program within 18 months from the property management transition of the complex. Upon conducting the requirements associated to the green rating system, it was noted that the organization’s current best practices exceeded the initial benchmark of the BOMA BEST Certified level. Therefore, the management team invested additional resources towards Gold certification status. It is Equium Group’s objective to apply for the 2020 BOMA Earth Award and re-certify the building under Platinum status upon renewal of the program.
According to Equium Group, BOMA BEST is an excellent certification tool in order to benchmark building performance and sustainability measures which demonstrate industry best practices: ‘The program ties into our corporate mandate of implementing strategies towards continuous improvement with emphasis on the management of the built environment’.