City honours eco-friendly project
Avi Urban wins Calgary Award
The City of Calgary has honoured Avi Urban and its Victoria Cross townhome development in Currie Barracks for its innovative and exemplary environmental conduct.
Avi Urban recently received one of 16 Calgary Awards. The multi-family division of Homes by Avi won in the category of environmental achievement.
The awards celebrate Calgarians and local organizations for their outstanding achievements and significant contributions for improving the quality of life in the city.
The environmental achievement award recognizes ecofriendly practices in such things as advanced technology, management, conservation, protection, enhancement, education, stewardship and promotion of the city’s environment.
Victoria Cross includes an innovative and customdesigned storm water management system.
The BuiltGreen certified homes in Victoria Cross exceed the LEED ND (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design for Neighbourhood Development) requirements.
BuiltGreen is a voluntary program that promotes ecofriendly and sustainable housing. LEED is a third-party certification program for the design, construction and operation of high-performance green buildings.
“We really wanted to do something special there,” says Charron Ungar, president of Avi Urban, of the land in Currie Barracks — which he called “the jewel in the crown” of Canada Lands Co.’s redevelopment of the former Canadian Forces base land.
“The fact that it’s a LEED ND community really opened up a world of possibilities for us to really make a statement with regards to environmental stewardship,” says Ungar.
Avi Urban developed a new storm water system for the project — a collaboration between Avi Urban, Homes by Avi, a civil engineer and City of Calgary’s water services department.
Many existing water infiltration systems do not work in Calgary due to frozen ground in winter preventing water being absorbed.
“CLC enabled us to come up with something novel and we developed a stormwater management system based on a trench type of design, where we slope everything into a trench that has all these different types of filtering soils,” says Ungar. “We were able to accomplish something fantastic, and to be recognized for it by the City of Calgary is a great achievement.”
The water services department wrote Avi Urban a letter of commendation on the project.
“Just that action shows how much we need to work together to succeed — and that level of collaboration that we had there really enabled us all to come up with a system that really sets the bar for environmental innovation and stewardship,” says Ungar.
This new system is one to watch for in future Avi Urban developments.
“There was considerable work that needed to be done to make it viable,” says Ungar. “We’ve developed a cost-effective system that will allow us to be able to use — if not in whole — in part what we’ve learned there.”
The process to have the project approved was more challenging for Victoria Cross because it was cutting edge, and because it involved an aspect that appears counterintuitive.
“As a builder, I’ve been trained that the right way to build is to always slope storm water away from the structure. In this case, we’re sloping it back onto the property. That takes some time to really be able to digest,” says Ungar.
“I have a level of comfort that we’re both achieving something that is good for the environment and good for stormwater management, but also something that is safe and reliable for our homeowners.”
Victoria Cross is a muchdecorated project. It was nominated this spring for a National SAM (Sales and Marketing) Award for Community of the Year by the Canadian Home Builders’ Association.
At the recent Calgary Region SAM Awards, it received the local Community of the Year Award. The units, themselves, have won several awards at various municipal, provincial and national levels for design of units.
Avi Urban general manager Victor Mutambo accepted the Calgary Award from Mayor Naheed Nenshi on behalf of Avi Urban. Ungar was being honoured that evening by the CHBA—Calgary as he officially wrapped up his yearlong term as president of the chapter.
To see the full list of this year’s Calgary Award winners, go to newsroom.calgary.ca and search “Calgary awards 2012.”
Victoria Cross by Avi Urban includes an innovative stormwater management system.
Mayor Naheed Nenshi, left, presents Avi Urban general manager Victor Mutambo with a Calgary Award for corporate environmental achievement.