“If you do it right, going green shouldn’t come at a cost” –Kevin Brees, General Manager, Park Place Shopping Centre.
Who knew the team at our very own Park Place Shopping Centre were such environmental trailblazers! Led by General Manager Kevin Brees, Park Place sets a standard of excellence in waste reduction and sustainable business management. But, they don’t do it for the accolades, of which there are many, or purely driven by economics, which often stack up. They do it because it’s the right thing to do, according to Kevin. Focusing on waste and recycling, sustainable building, and energy reduction, Park Place leads their own company and its tenants in green initiatives.
Park Place was the first BOMA ‘Go Green’ certified building in Western Canada, became the first BOMA Level 4 Best Property in 2009 and is one of only three buildings in Alberta to be Platinum certified. Platinum certification requires an independent auditor to score above 90%, and Park Place has now been certified platinum for 10 years. These achievements are largely driven by internal leadership, with Park Place being the poster child for other Primaris managed malls.
New tenants are required to follow green initiatives through construction and ongoing operations. This includes using sustainable and readily recyclable building materials and a “curbside” recycling program is on offer. They’re also required to select LED lighting, low flow staff washrooms, low VOC paint, and adhesives and utilize occupancy sensors among other environmental building materials. Food court tenants provide organic waste for composting in the rooftop garden – more on that later.
Park Place walks the talk. They do what they ask of their tenants and much more, taking a proactive approach in all of their operations and planning as much as possible. In the food court, post-consumer waste is sorted by hand at the tray return stations into recyclables or waste. Staff is even set up, trained and ready to start when local organics (food) recycling becomes available. Park Place diverts 51.6% of resources from the landfill, at a capture rate of 77.6%, with organics estimated to contribute 19% of waste that is landfilled, presenting a significant diversion opportunity. Rolling out this “at source” waste-sorting hasn’t come at a cost, the same number of staff sort waste, clean and monitor the area as prior to the rollout.
Throughout construction avoiding sending resources to landfill is a priority. Park Place diverts almost 80% of construction waste from landfill, donating furnishings and recycling materials wherever possible, including upcycling into furnishings within the buildings. Many of these products have post-consumer markets or rebates for recycling, making waste reduction financially viable. In the new food court, exterior bricks were repurposed for the interior walls, fixtures are all energy efficient, the south-facing wall is mostly windows to maximize natural light and other lighting is low to minimize energy wastage. There are challenges, for example, carpet, painted drywall, and adhesives restrict recycling, but Park Place continues to seek ways to reach closer to reach 100% diversion from landfill.
What about that rooftop garden? Since 2009, this garden has grown [excuse the pun] from strength to strength. Fertilized by composted organics provided by the food court tenants, this 12-bed rooftop garden has provided around 800 pounds of fresh local produce to charities. Attended to by staff volunteers and watered by rainwater harvested from the sun lights, you can even see the fruits of this effort via webcam when the plants really start to come alive.
The team at Park Place are a great example of Wasteless leaders in our community, showing that with strong leadership and forward thinking going green need not come at a cost. They even grew their own bamboo in planter boxes and upcycled post-construction steel to make their own benches! Who knew?
Written by Samuel Gerrand.