Calgary’s commercial buildings and the professionals that manage them are always coming up with innovative ideas – however we don’t talk enough about it! BOMA Calgary’s EH&S Committee is setting out to change that by producing articles that highlight the new and innovative ideas members are working on.
Our first profile is Eighth Avenue Place, managed by Hines. This building was completed in 2011 and consists of a 49 Story, 1.1 million square foot East tower with a 1,143 space underground garage, and an atrium garden as well as a 40 story West tower with 840,00 Sq ft.
The buzz around this building is their new tenant, the bees! For the second year, Eighth Avenue Place has an apiary that is home to honey bee hives. Provided by Honey Meadows farm, the bees reside on the atrium where it is easy to find food and water. They get their food source from flowers within 3km of the building, and since the atrium is close to the ground floor they do not have to fly very far.
When the hive is started in the spring there are 1-2 pounds of bees, however this number can double or triple by the end of the season. For reference, one pound equals approximately 4,000 bees. For 2016 there was an estimated 72,000 bees. These 72,000 bees created 143 jars of honey (150ml each), which is about 21,450 milliliters extracted. In 2017 Eighth Avenue Place has seven hives and about 168,000 bees. Last year Hines hosted a bee day where tenants could learn about bees, and receive some of that fresh honey to take home. This year, the honey is being provided to the buildings tenant, Cucina Market Bistro, to incorporate into their food and drinks. Talk about keeping it local!
But creating an apiary is not without challenges. The first challenge was ensuring a steady source of food, which was achieved by growing flowers on the pre-existing green roof.
Bees also need partial shade so that they do not dehydrate, so the hives were placed in partially shaded areas. Hines also placed bird baths on the green roof as a water source for the bees. Lastly, hives also need to be situated away from air intakes.
Costs are typically a concern with environmental projects such as these. Fortunately these costs are very minimal, especially when comparing to the environmental benefit provided to the downtown community and the general bee population.
Earlier this year Eighth Avenue Place received a Downtown Vitality Award for environmental improvement. The Award is given annually to businesses and organizations in recognition of significant achievements in enhancing downtown Calgary. This project was so successful that Hines will be running it at another building, Prospect Place.
Hines also operates a tulip program in the spring, where tulips are planted at the front of the building and then once they have sprouted they are dug up, bagged and then handed out to their tenants.
Other projects that Hines is considering for the future is adding a rooftop vegetable garden, and a chicken coup! What great ideas with environmental and community benefits. Keep up the good work!
Submitted on behalf of the BOMA Environmental Occupational Health & Safety (EH&S) Committee