Calgary, Alta. – Calgary Zoo’s Panda Passage project has received Petal Certification, making it one of the most advanced habitat projects in the world.
Petal certification is awarded by the International Living Future Institute’s (ILFI) Living Building Challenge. It rewards projects that give back more than they take through innovative design and construction.
“We’re so thrilled to see conservation organizations like the Calgary Zoo adopt the Living Building Challenge,” said Parker Helble, certification manager at the ILFI, in a press release. “The zoo and ILFI share similar goals and values and Panda Passage is a wonderful reflection of this. Panda Passage successfully incorporates beauty, biophilia, conservation, health, equity, and education at the intersection of species. We hope the exhibit inspires others to appreciate the beauty and importance of nature and consider these principles in their work and everyday lives.”
The $14.4 million project received four petals toward certification including health and happiness, materials, equity and beauty. According to the city, the passage design was inspired by the symbiotic relationship between the pandas, people and the building.
Construction on the Panda Passage began in 2016, with funding from the province, city and federal government, and was completed in May of 2018. The habitat features 431 square meters of indoor habitat and 1,512 square meters of outdoor habitat.
“Habitat destruction remains one of the biggest threats to pandas in the wild, much in the same way that the boreal forests and evergreen trees are a concern for wildlife in Canada. As a conservation organization, the Calgary Zoo is committed to using resources in the most efficient way possible and inspiring others by living our conservation philosophy through all that we do,” says Clement Lanthier, President and CEO for the Calgary Zoo.
The facility was made with non-toxic materials, Forest Stewardship Council certified wood and repurposed materials. The team re-used materials from the previous building, including lighting, doorknobs, and washroom accessories.
The logs included in the habitats are deadfall collected from the zoo’s flood protection project. The project also accounted for the total embodied carbon impact from its construction through a one-time carbon offset from an approved carbon offset provider.