June 30, 2020

MacKimmie Tower project team wins 2020 Sustainability Award

Team champions energy conserving behaviours and systems to combat climate change

By now we’re likely all aware of UCalgary’s MacKimmie Tower Complex. It’s one of the most energy-efficient buildings on a Canadian post-secondary campus, while providing a healthy workplace for its occupants. However, one aspect that is rarely discussed is the dedicated team who worked tirelessly to implement the project vision.

MacKimmie Tower project team wins 2020 Group Staff Sustainability Award

MacKimmie Tower required a project team passionate about sustainability to implement the project. The team worked together to implement innovative sustainable features like reusing the tower’s original structure instead of tearing down the building entirely and creating more waste.

“The amazing thing about the MacKimmie Tower project team is that it includes people from all across campus,” says Boris Dragicevic, AVP facilities development. “Representatives from Facilities Development, Facilities Management, Information Technologies, the Office of Sustainability and UCalgary researchers, as well as representatives from all the teams within the tower, propelled the project forward.

"They also collaborated with a number of consulting architects, engineers, contractors and sustainability experts to establish sustainable project aspirations. Without this team effort, the project wouldn’t have been successful.”

Together, this team was awarded the 2020 UCalgary Group Staff Sustainability Award. In addition, they recently won a Galvanizing Award from DAAM Galvanizing, Western Canada’s leading lead-free galvanizing company, for MacKimmie Tower’s outstanding architecture.

“We are very fortunate to be recognized with a UCalgary Sustainability Award and a 2020 Galvanizing Award,” says John Millington, MacKimmie redevelopment project manager. “Everyone on our team offered a unique skill set, and combined with our dedication to decreasing the building’s carbon footprint, this was a once-in-a-life time project to work on.”

While MacKimmie Tower is complete, the team is now focused on finishing the Block and Link, as well as repurposing the Professional Faculties Building. The Block and Link are on track for completion in 2022, while Professional Faculties will be finished in August 2020.

Climate action champions

According to the United Nations, climate change is affecting every country on every continent. With changing weather patterns, sea levels are rising, weather events are becoming more extreme and greenhouse gas emissions are now at their highest levels in history. Affordable, scalable solutions are needed to enable countries to leapfrog toward cleaner, more resilient economies, which is the essence of United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 13: Climate Action. MacKimmie Tower proves to be one of these solutions.

“The combination of MacKimmie Tower’s ultra-efficiency design, integrated renewable energy systems and the energy-conserving behaviours of the building’s occupants are anticipated to reduce carbon emissions by more than 70 per cent,” says Adam Stoker, sustainability consultant, Office of Sustainability.

“The UN estimates that by the end of this century the increase in global temperature will exceed 1.5°C, so UCalgary wants to make sure we are doing our part. MacKimmie Tower helps decrease our carbon footprint and directly supports SGD 13.”

The United Nations reports that to limit global warming to 1.5°C, global carbon emissions need to fall by 45 per cent by 2030 from 2010 levels. Ongoing monitoring of MacKimmie Tower’s energy use will ensure UCalgary is doing its part to support this target.

Interested in learning more about MacKimmie Tower? Check out the project website.

The University of Calgary’s Institutional Sustainability Strategy provides a road map for continuous improvement in our pursuit of excellence and leadership in sustainability. We aim to be a Canadian post-secondary education leader in sustainability in our academic and engagement programs, administrative and operational practices and through supporting community and industry in their aims for leadership in sustainability. Learn more about UCalgary’s leadership in sustainability.