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.
Because Blatchford will be a leader in environmentally-friendly community design and will serve as a model for sustainable communities around the world, the City of Edmonton is committed to reducing the impact on the environment during all phases of the Blatchford construction process.
Recycling an Airport
The commitment to reducing Blatchford’s environmental footprint has already begun. To maintain responsible environmental development over the course of the construction, we are finding ways to recycle an airport.
Buildings. The former airport hangars are being deconstructed instead of demolished. Through the deconstruction process, a building is slowly dismantled to allow the building materials to be sorted for recycling, reuse or waste management. This differs from standard demolition, where the building is taken down as fast as possible with the materials likely ending up in a landfill. A minimum of 80% of the waste created from the buildings in Blatchford will be diverted from the landfill. In the first two stages of deconstruction, we exceeded this target and 92% of building materials were recycled or reused.
Runways. All runways will be removed and recycled on-site. The materials (concrete, asphalt and gravel) will be used to construct the roads in the community. Any excess materials will be sold for reuse elsewhere.
Other current recycling and reuse initiatives include:
Rather than hauling the earth that is excavated to create the stormwater ponds off-site, the soil will be used to grade the south end of the site and to build a large hill in the community. For the first stormwater pond, this means reducing the environmental impact associated with trucking 250,000-300,000 m3 of soil out of the community.
Blatchford homebuilders will be required to continue responsible construction practices and will need to have a plan in place to divert construction materials from the landfill.
In the future, an education program will encourage Blatchford residents to become living examples and ambassadors for sustainable lifestyles, promoting these ideals to other Edmontonians, and building pride in our city.
Blatchford will be designed for all modes of transportation. A mix of high-quality urban design elements will make walking, cycling and public transit the easy and natural transportation choices for those living and working in the community.
Pedestrian comfort and safety will be prioritized through custom-designed streets, sidewalks and boulevards. Blatchford will also be designed to accommodate convenient car travel but what makes Blatchford unique is that it will be focused on pedestrians first.
Well-designed, mixed-use development will create a community where you are closer to the things you need on a day to day basis. Amenities like restaurants and coffee shops will all be within walking distance of residential areas and linked with pedestrian and cycling facilities.
These destinations will not only be connected, but they will also be enjoyable to use. The pedestrian and cycling experience are prioritized by design, and include:
ACTIVE STREET WALL
Transit will be fully integrated into the community, with stops and stations located at key activity centres. Two LRT stops planned right in the community will connect you to the rest of Edmonton.
In addition to the environmental benefit of reduced vehicle usage, a walkable community means healthier people and safer streets.
Street Network design
The Blatchford street network is built for people first. A modified grid has been designed that significantly increases pedestrian connections compared to a typical community. Greater connectivity means more route options are created for pedestrians and cyclists. These highly connected streets provide more direct paths, making active transportation an easier choice.
A sustainable community also enhances wellbeing and social interaction. Gathering spots will be carefully designed to create spaces and places for people to connect. Great urban design will emphasize connectivity, generous open space allocation and a mixed-use approach to development.
Programmed and passive spaces will be located throughout the community, including:
SUMMER AND WINTER EVENT AREAS
VIEW DECK OVER POND
NATURALIZED & URBAN LANDSCAPING
With approximately 20% of the community designated as green space, the majority of Blatchford residents will be within a two-minute walk of a park. Shared garden spaces will create community gathering spaces, and will provide a chance for neighbours to get to know each other.
A mixed-use approach to development also means small scale retail will be located throughout the community so your local coffee shop or restaurant is only a short walk away from your home, instead of a drive.
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.