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The Role of a Consulting Arborist

A Case Study of the MacKimmie Complex and Professional Faculties Building Redevelopment Project

tree protected by ArborCare for MacKimmie Complex Redevelopment

The University of Calgary’s redeveloped MacKimmie Complex is one of the most energy-efficient buildings on a Canadian post-secondary campus. The building opened in August 2019 and is essential to the university’s quest to become a carbon-neutral campus by 2050. ArborCare® is proud to have been the consulting arborist company on this innovative project, a testament to our stellar reputation and unequalled credentials in Calgary’s tree industry.

A Net-Zero Project

The MacKimmie Complex and Professional Faculties Building Redevelopment is a net-zero carbon project. A net-zero carbon building offsets the carbon emissions it generates in day-to-day operations by producing or procuring carbon-free renewable energy. The building has already been recognized for its sustainable design, earning the prestigious 2020 Zero Carbon Green Building Excellence Award from the Canadian Green Building Council.

The roof and portions of the façade of the MacKimmie Complex are covered in solar photo-voltaic panels that turn sunlight into almost one megawatt of electricity – the amount consumed by about 330 homes – in one hour. The tower’s double-skin facade also reacts to changing weather conditions, requiring less energy to keep the interior comfortable.

During construction, 100% of the existing concrete, steel and glass removed from the building was recycled.

ArborCare’s Role in the Net-Zero Design

ArborCare is proud to have been a partner in the planning and development of this innovative project. As a consulting arborist, ArborCare played a crucial role in tree protection, grading and landscaping, key elements that helped achieve the project’s net-zero status. Here are three ways ArborCare contributed to the project.

  1. Tree protection

    Tree protection was essential to this project. With the help of tree assessments by our consulting arborist, ArborCare helped protect one-third of the existing trees on site during construction and excavation. Many were mature elm trees which take many decades to replace.

    Proactive care and protection of the trees were necessary, as 99% percent of a tree’s roots are within one metre of the soil surface. Construction processes such as moving heavy equipment, changing the soil structure and excavating in the root zone threatensed to damage and even kill trees. A tree damaged during construction could show signs of decline up to 10 years after the damage occurred.

  2. Native vegetation and ecosystem renewal

    An integral piece of the green design was Swann Mall, a series of pedestrian pathways that acknowledge and reflect years of travel between university buildings. The area was planted with native prairie grasses and a variety of plant materials, bringing back the region’s natural ecosystem and supporting biodiversity. The vegetation is more resilient to drought and local weather events and reduces the need for fertilizers and irrigation.

    Water management and conservation were also integral to the project’s net-zero design, including a more natural surface water infiltration and retention system to help mitigate the impacts of future heavy rainfall events. The complex also features a 150,000-litre cistern to capture and hold rainwater to be used in more than 150 water closets throughout the complex.

  3. Pedestrian pathways with natural design

    Through creative landscaping design, pathways were modified to minimize disruption and damage to tree root systems. The sweeping pedestrian paths were also landscaped so that low areas collect melted snow and rainwater. ArborCare helped with planning and finishing the final grading and landscaping. The unique design supports snow clearing in areas next to the pathways and removes the need for corrosive salts.

Our Consulting Arborist

A consulting arborist is an indispensable asset to any project involving tree planting and landscaping. Their services include providing detailed reports to homeowners and clients regarding tree protection, risk assessments and value appraisals. Corinne Winfield has been ArborCare’s consulting arborist since 1999. Her list of credentials includes:

Winfield’s knowledge of Calgary plants, soil and climate made her a vital asset to the MacKimmie project. Her decades of experience in local arboriculture makes her an invaluable member of our team, setting ArborCare apart from other Calgary tree companies.

Consult an Arborist in Calgary, Kelowna, Edmonton and Winnipeg

The MacKimmie Complex and Professional Faculties Building Redevelopment Project is the latest in a long list of ArborCare’s institutional and municipal clients. As a proud member of the American Society of Consulting Arborists, we offer consulting services for commercial and residential projects in Calgary, Edmonton, Kelowna and Winnipeg. Contact us today and book a consultation or tree assessment with our consulting arborist.

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