Banff: environmental role model for communities in the world
Banff is a good place to visit anytime of the year including the early fall season when the golden swathes of forest are splendid, set against mountains just picking up their first dustings of snow. Normally it’s a time to get out and explore a trail or two but for this weekend we were there for another reason and season. Hockey.
Our PeeWee team along with three others from Calgary were in town for a tournament played at The Fenlands Recreation Centre. This arena was opened about five years ago and has a design concept that is entirely fitting with this beautiful, protected National Park landscape and the Town of Banff’s aspiration to be an environmental role model for communities around the world. It has a couple of ice surfaces for hockey (one is NHL size) and a curling rink.
The Fenlands Recreation Centre: LEED™ Silver Standard Building
In between games, I walked around to see what design features they have come up with to provide lasting benefits to both environment and community.
Master Plan and Parking
The master plan for the arena flipped the old building configuration around so as to move the car parking lot to the other side. This enabled a meadow to be restored, giving further protection to the Vermilion Lakes wetland ecosystem that it backs into.
The parking lot itself sits on top of a natural plants and sand filtering (bioswales) system that can cope with undesirable run-off from motor vehicles. There are also big and bold “no-idling” signs to discourage unnecessary use of fuels while vehicles load players and their kit in and out.
Ice and Water
Inside the building, water is captured from the Olympia that does the ice maintenance and, along with run-off from the roof, put into a grey water tank for use in the low-flow toilets. As for drinking the stuff, water is so good here that a decision was taken not to sell bottled water at the concession. You need to bring your own container, a pretty good way of reducing plastic waste too.
Views to die for
Natural lighting in this building is simply excellent. About 90% of the interior space has an outside view, letting lots of light in. And the windows provide spectacular views of surrounding mountains such as Mount Rundle. Of course, good electric lighting is needed to see that fast moving puck but that comes via a smart system that senses daylight levels and switches on when people come into the rooms.
Curved Curling Beams
To top it all, the big curved beams in the roof were recycled from the old curling rink and other beams came from a decommissioned school gymnasium in the neighbouring town of Canmore.
Thank you Banff for a weekend of sustainable hockey!