City hon­ours eco-friendly pro­ject

Avi Ur­ban wins Calgary Award

Calgary Herald - Calgary Herald New Condos - - New Condos - CLAIRE YOUNG

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.”

Calgary Her­ald/files

Vic­to­ria Cross by Avi Ur­ban in­cludes an in­no­va­tive stormwa­ter man­age­ment sys­tem.

Avi Ur­ban

Mayor Na­heed Nen­shi, left, presents Avi Ur­ban gen­eral man­ager Vic­tor Mu­tambo with a Calgary Award for cor­po­rate en­vi­ron­men­tal achieve­ment.

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