For more than 80 years Blatchford Field was the centre of technological development in aviation as Canada’s first licensed airport. Now, almost six years after the last flight took off, the land is becoming home to another new technology.
The neighbourhood springing up on the former airport lands will be a model of energy efficiency and environmental sustainability. That plan has taken a step forward with the first group of homes being offered for sale in the new community.
“I think it’s really exciting to build in the area,” says Godo Stoyke, who holds a Ph.D. in environmental design and is one of the partners in Carbon Busters. The company is offering seven townhomes, two of which will be zoned for garden or garage suites. All will be ‘Net-Zero,’ which means they will produce as much energy as they use.
The company is one of four builders in Phase One of Blatchford West, being developed in the shadow of the old airport control tower. The current work will eventually include up to 250 units of townhomes, condos and retail space. Over the next two decades the City of Edmonton, which owns the land, hopes it will be home to about 30 thousand people.
Carbon Busters has been in the carbon reduction, energy efficiency and renewable energy consulting world since 1992 in Europe, US and Canada and in the design-build business for the last decade. They’ve built a number of homes in existing neighbourhoods and managed the energy efficiency and carbon reduction of over a 800 buildings worldwide.
“The whole (Blatchford) development is geared towards minimizing the ecological impact and creating public gardens and local food production so it is really designed to minimize the carbon footprint,” says Stoyke.
Blatchford’s homes and other buildings will get their heating and cooling from a District Energy Systemt hat takes energy from a series of pipes deep under the ground.
“The heat pump technology has been sweeping Europe for the past 10 to 12 years. In Canada it’s still a very nascent market I think that’s going to change.”
Carbon Busters homes will also be extremely energy efficient.
“We use super insulation. We have a super-insulated basement using a special foam instead of concrete. We use super (-insulated) windows . Each of the homes will have its own photovoltaic (solar panel) system. What we are building right now at Blatchford will be the norm in Canada in 10-20 years,” Stoyke predicts.
The three other builders, Encore Master Builder, Mutti Homes and Ocheller by Red Brick, are also offering various energy efficiency options.
Carbon Busters has another connection to the land it will be building on.
“We are back to a space that used to be my home,” says Shanthu Mano, one of the principals of Carbon Busters. Her father was a helicopter pilot in Sri Lanka and ran an airline in East Malaysia.
“When we were kids we used to hang around in hangars. We’d climb in and out of helicopters and planes and pretend. All of us wanted to be pilots of course. I love the fact that I get to help build a sustainable community on City’s old airport lands!”
We welcome the four developers to our neighbourhood and hope our museum can work with them in turning Blatchford into a new and thriving community.