Countdown to Completion: BMO Centre Expansion—Sustainability and Environmental Stewardship

    · 5 min read

    In Stampede Park at the heart of Calgary’s emerging Culture + Entertainment District, a dramatic expansion of the BMO Centre has taken shape. As we approach the June 2024 grand opening of Western Canada’s largest, newest convention venue, we’re showcasing compelling aspects of the building’s design and construction.

    In this feature, we highlight the sustainability initiatives and approach to reducing environmental impact that informed the facility’s design and construction.

    As development manager for the $500 million BMO Centre expansion—a four-year construction project rapidly approaching its grand opening—Calgary Municipal Land Corporation (CMLC) sought to ensure that the 565,000 square feet of new space was designed with the future in mind and took a deliberate approach to minimize its environmental footprint.

    “From the very start, sustainability and climate resilience remained a prominent topic in the design conversation,” says Kelly Coles, CMLC’s Vice President, Building & Infrastructure. “This is consistent with CMLC’s approach to all redevelopment in the Rivers District. In pursuing our mandate for urban renewal, we strive to exceed best practices and innovate where possible with consideration for long-term environmental, social and economic well-being of our community.”

    The expansion’s sustainability initiatives align with The City of Calgary’s Sustainable Building Policy and include optimizing the building’s energy performance, reducing water use, managing on-site storm water, planting drought-tolerant landscaping and diverting high quantities of construction and demolition waste from the landfill.

    “Following demolition of the original BMO Centre buildings,” says Kelly, “the team removed 40,000 tons of debris from the site. Ninety-four percent of that construction waste—nearly 34 million kilograms—was diverted from the landfill and recycled for use in other projects. The entire team is understandably proud of that accomplishment.”

    The sustainable principles integrated into the BMO Centre expansion are multifaceted, reflecting a comprehensive approach to environmental stewardship. These include deliberate strategies such as purposeful use of natural lighting, exceeding the energy efficiency guidelines outlined in the National Energy Code of Canada for Buildings 2017, and implementing indoor water reduction measures to achieve significant savings of 35 percent above the LEED v4 baseline standards.

    Additionally, the expansion features underground cisterns to manage stormwater on‐site, responsible landscaping practices that prioritize water conservation and biodiversity, and LED lighting to support energy savings and greenhouse gas management. Water-saving measures, including waterless urinals and dual-flush toilets will decrease overall water usage by 30 percent.

    Beyond the building’s design considerations for sustainability and climate resilience, the BMO Centre takes a thoughtful approach to sustainability in its operations. To address food sustainability, the Calgary Stampede partners with local groups to donate meals to those in need, underscoring the project's overall commitment to holistic sustainability practices.

    “Our organization takes great pride in the lands we own and operate on,” adds Greg Newton, the Calgary Stampede’s General Manager of BMO Centre & Stampede Park Events. “We intend to care for these lands for centuries to come. Pride of place is at our roots and is one of our core values. It drives us to constantly evolve—to continually seek opportunities to change and improve how we affect the world around us. As the host venue for hundreds of meetings, conferences and conventions every year, it’s critically important to the Calgary Stampede that we integrate sustainable practices into all aspects of event management.”

    When the breathtaking new facility opens this summer, visitors will undoubtedly be captivated by its impressive scale and operational efficiency, as well as the details that create its dazzling aesthetic and stunning visual appeal. While some of the carefully integrated sustainability features that received so much care and attention may go unnoticed by most, the entire team behind its development will be celebrating the design considerations and construction innovations that make the BMO Centre both earth- and future-friendly.

    Stay tuned for more spotlights as we count down to the grand opening of the BMO Centre expansion!

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