After the recent meeting between President Obama and Prime Minister Harper it became apparent that the environment is now a high priority for the governments of both Canada and the United States. This probably means that suddenly everyone has to start thinking 'green' both at the office and in their homes. Energy conservation, renewable energy, recycling and many other environmental issues will be front and center in the very near future.
However, for the past decade one company in Calgary — Kanas Corporation — has been developing energy efficient and smart technology for Green Buildings and at the same time providing affordable housing. Their experiences to date, plus their research into new technology, ensures that we have a leader for the greening of our lifestyles right here in our own backyard.
Kanas Corporation began in 1997 with the concept of developing buildings with Insulated Concrete Form Construction (ICFC) and locally produced recycled steel joists and interior wall studs to create a superior building envelope to which smart technology could easily be incorporated. "We had a passion to develop a better building with a green emphasis but to really focus on efficiency with affordability," says Robert Sipka, President of Kanas Corporation. "Our pilot project, now completed, was Parkhill Manor with nine rental apartments and currently under construction is our prototype Lomond apartment building with fifteen rental units. This fall we will break-ground and commence construction on our major performance project the Lumino with 318 units in the Manchester community. "
Defining a green project encompasses the building construction, the energy efficiency of the structure, the use of smart technology for energy conservation plus the surrounding neighborhood in terms of close proximity to public transit and amenities to include a reduction in the resident's carbon footprint. A typical Kanas building meets R-2000 criteria and a Platinum Rating by Enervision's Built Green program that evaluates "green" construction techniques which reduce the environmental impact of buildings. These prestigious ratings are achieved by Kanas through the ICFC construction method, the use of recycled steel, the acrylic stucco exterior, hot water solar panel heating systems, triple-glazed Low-E windows, low-VOC paints, concrete counter tops, low- flow fixtures and toilets, plus smart technology applications.
"Our buildings are greater than 50% more efficient relative to traditional construction methods. Plus the triple-glazed windows ensure no cold drafts or heat loss in winter and year-round noise reduction for a noticeably improved comfort level for the residents," says Sipka .
The new Lomond development is located at Center Street and 32nd Avenue NW with two bedroom apartments anticipated to be ready for occupancy late this year or early in 2010. Lomond is located close to public transit routes, giving residents a practical alternative to driving which results in financial savings and a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. These homes will encompass some of the latest smart technologies recently discovered and tested by Kanas. Wherever possible Kanas chooses Canadian made products and materials to reduce shipping costs, lower transportation greenhouse gas emissions and support the Canadian economy.
Kanas has worked in conjunction with Alberta Government grants for affordable housing and the Lumino development is in partnership with the City of Calgary affordable housing program. This is an important part of the company's philosophy to provide an environmentally friendly hand-up but not a hand-out.
"Our buildings are affordable by design and efficiency but the core is a really good building envelope to start with," says Sipka. "Although the cost savings may not be realized until several years after the tenants first move in, as the landlord we can afford to wait for these cost efficiencies to be realized."
With Kanas Corporation as both the building developer and eventual landlord it would seem to indicate that they are fully prepared to stand behind both their construction materials and methods for a truly superior building with a focus on environmental efficiency.