It’s unmistakable and unprecedented as Calgary’s first eco-friendly and fully sustainable office building.

The Water Centre “landscaper” building, as long as the Calgary Tower is high, is home to nearly 800 water treatment staff, cost $43 million to build and should pay for itself within 15 years through energy savings, said city project manager Russ Golightly.

“This is a leading example of what we’re trying to achieve as a city,” said mayor Dave Bronconnier at the facility’s unveiling yesterday which will have its cutting-edge conservation efforts used in future city building projects.


With sweeping glass sides, the building maximizes its use of natural lighting for its office spaces, which also have opening windows for use as personal cooling systems, a swooping sheet metal roof mitigates the impact some of the direct sunlight, while still providing enough light and heat to carve down electricity costs substantially, Golightly said.

Each coffee room has a series of holes for recyclables and all 700,000 kilograms of steel used in its construction came from recycled material and only five per cent of everything used to put it up went to the landfill.

There are downspouts integrated with its roof that divert rain water into three collecting ponds, that when full, transfer water into a collection cistern for use on the property.

“That has given us the opportunity to irrigate the land without ever using the potable water system,” said Golightly.

As well, the new Water centre has a green roof, useful for its insular properties, being used as a pilot project that may be transferred to other city-owned buildings, where perennial flowers and other plants are being tested for their vitality on such a system.

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