Blatchford is designed around a philosophy of more life. Of course, this expands beyond the borders of Blatchford. More life around the planet is the ultimate goal.
In any community, let alone one on the scale of Blatchford, how that community uses energy is what will create its biggest impact on the planet. Blatchford will be the largest truly energy-efficient neighbourhood in North America.
Blatchford will use three strategies – energy conservation, energy efficiency and the use of renewable energy sources – to minimize the community’s environmental impact and ensure community energy resiliency.
- Conservation: All buildings in Blatchford will be constructed with high performance envelopes that exceed the requirements of existing Alberta building codes.
- Efficiency: An ambient district energy sharing system (DESS) is being proposed to provide heating and cooling and domestic hot water for all buildings in Blatchford. The DESS is capable of sharing energy between buildings, significantly reducing overall energy demand. This system will operate as an on-site energy system for the community.
- Renewables: The use of on-site renewable energy sources including potentially using geo-exchange and sewer heat exchange.
Builders will be given standards to design and build homes that reduce power, heat and water use. Green building features include better insulation, energy efficient lighting and appliances, windows oriented for solar gain, green roofs, and rainwater capture systems. Buildings in Blatchford will be required to exceed the performance requirements of the new Alberta Building Code. Blatchford buildings will use low-flow fixtures and appliances to minimize water use.
Ambient District Energy Sharing System
The vision for Blatchford is an urban environment that is carbon neutral and powered entirely by renewable energy. Building a truly sustainable development like Blatchford will require an ambitious approach to energy usage, creativity, innovation and visionary leadership.
What is District Energy?
The second component of the Blatchford energy strategy being proposed is a high efficiency energy delivery system called an ambient temperature district energy sharing system (DESS). The DESS provides the heating, cooling (air-conditioning) and production of hot water to buildings through a centralized system that allows the same unit of energy to be shared. The system can share energy between buildings by capturing excess energy from buildings and sharing it with other buildings across the neighbourhood. It can also share energy between seasons by capturing and storing summer heat energy to be used in the winter months.
One of the main advantages of an ambient DESS is that it allows for greater flexibility to directly tie in renewable energy sources.
A best of both world’s approach has been taken in designing the Blatchford landscape. The landscaping will be both beautiful and environmentally smart.
A combination of low impact development design features such as bioswales, rain gardens and stormwater ponds will slow down and capture water runoff in Blatchford, and will improve the water quality before it enters the drainage system. Many of these areas will also provide micro-habitats where plants, trees and birds can thrive, adding more green space and biodiversity.
Elements like ornamental plantings, edible landscaping and treed boulevards will be incorporated in Blatchford. Parks and open spaces will be landscaped primarily with native and drought-resistant species, mitigating the need for irrigation. Agricultural and ornamental plantings will be watered through on-site rainwater capture and reuse.
Blatchford recognizes the important role food and urban agriculture will play in the community — not only increasing sustainability, but for also increasing your quality of life.
Community gardens, fruit tree orchards, edible landscaping and flower gardens will be located throughout the neighbourhood. Building roofs and terraces may be used for communal or private patios, decks and gardens.
Biodiversity is an integral part of Blatchford’s design. Naturalized landscapes (wetlands, bioswales), a variety of tree species, and native plantings will be integrated into the neighbourhood.
The homes will be some of the greenest in Canada. To decrease the amount of energy needed to run a home, builders will be required to build energy-efficient buildings that exceed the current building code.
Blatchford buildings and homes will incorporate green building features like increased insulation, energy efficient lighting and appliances, windows oriented for solar gain and rainwater capture systems. Certain homes may also be built to have rooftop decks with gardens.
In addition to energy efficiency, water in the homes will be better managed through the use of low-flow fixtures and appropriate landscaping.
For homeowners, this means less energy and water usage, healthier indoor air quality, more durable construction, and contributing to more life across our planet.