Christian Yaccarini, President of the Angus Development Organization, introduces the second phase of the Angus TechnoHub, an eco-neighborhood in Montreal, Canada that promises to use the best new technologies to become a global model in sustainable urban development.
The first phase of the Angus TechnoHub started 20 years ago on the former Angus Shops industrial site. It constitutes a vast urban revitalization project that has allowed for the construction of a financial district that brings together 55 enterprises. Breaking ground for phase 2, 1 million square feet, is planned for 2017.
You want this project to be ranked among the "top 10" global sustainable development initiatives. How will you get there?
We have visited several projects in Sweden, Denmark, Vancouver and Germany. Our first impression is that eco-neighborhood projects are primarily residential. The challenge is to incorporate an ecological commercial development because these are the activities that generate the most greenhouse gas emissions. Therefore, the idea of integrating a commercial project in an eco-neighborhood is unique. The environmental innovations of Phase 2 will improve the built environment, the energy use, transportation and waste removal on the site. For example, energy management will take place beyond the building level through the implantation of an energy loop connecting all of the structures on the site. This will allow us to reclaim the energy produced in any singular industry during the day and redistribute it into the residential section in the evening and weekends. This is an additional opportunity offered by a mixed-use project. We also want to transform leftover waste into energy. This is the component that presents the most challenges because we are dependent on technologies that are still in an experimental stage. The idea is to inject the energy produced from waste into our energy loop.
Phase 2 of the TechnoHub will focus on the reduction of the use of the single-occupant automobile. We want all services to be in place so that workers and residents of the eco-neighborhood develop the reflex to travel by mass transit. We are collaborating with STM and partnered with Communauto and Car2Go, which according to us, constitute an added value to professional trip providers.
What are the advantages for an enterprise that wants to establish itself in an eco-neighborhood?
Our wager is to attract enterprises that integrate the notion of sustainable development into various aspects of their activities. For an enterprise, establishing itself on a site where everything is geared to help it reduce its greenhouse gas emissions is a plus. There are just as many social as monetary advantages. For example, thanks to the energy loop, the enterprises will be able to benefit from an energy surplus generated by neighboring buildings. A green building that is LEED-certified leads to 40 percent less energy cost than a traditional building. The proximity of the residences and efficient access to mass transit also have positive impacts for an enterprise, especially in terms of employee retention.
For the residential component, we want to design an open and intergenerational neighborhood with more shared spaces and spaces for communication. We feel that there is an interest in this type of lifestyle.
What will be the main challenges in reaching your aims?
We want Phase 2 of the TechnoHub to become a global model for sustainable urban development. But for the model to be exportable elsewhere in the world, economic efficiency is essential. This concern comes from a second impression we came to during the visits to the European projects: many exemplary developments, from an environmental point of view, are heavily subsidized. This limits the possibility of reproducing them and adapting them to other contexts. Therefore, we are working within financial boundaries. The optimization of limited financial resources pushes us to think deeper about the architecture and landscape.
Are there eco-neighborhoods in your area? Are there any examples of mixed-use eco-neighborhoods in your city? Share you thoughts and your city's stories in the comments area below.
Original article, originally published in French, here.
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