Calgary Zoo wins international recognition for Panda habitat

The Calgary Zoo’s panda exhibit has won an award from an international conservation group for using sustainable building practices.

$14.4M exhibit cited for incorporating beauty, conservation, health and education

Panda Passage at the Calgary Zoo has been recognized by the International Living Future Institute for adhering to conservation-minded building standards. (Monty Kruger/CBC)

The Calgary Zoo's panda exhibit has won an award from an international conservation group for using sustainable building practices.

The $14.4-million Panda Passage has been awarded "Petal certification" by the International Living Future Institute.

Petal certification is part of the institute's Living Building Challenge, which recognizes projects that adhere to the world's most rigorous building standards.

"Panda Passage successfully incorporates beauty, biophilia, conservation, health, equity and education at the intersection of species," the institute said in a release.

"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 zoo says the exhibit was inspired by the symbiotic relationship between the pandas, people and the building.

"The zoo achieved four Petals toward certification including health and happiness, materials, equity and beauty," the zoo said.

"Certification means that the zoo is taking action to ensure the space gives back more than it takes through design and construction."

The habitat features 431 square metres in two indoor habitats and 1,512 square metres of outdoor habitat. It opened in 2018. It was made with non-toxic materials, Forest Stewardship Council-certified wood and repurposed materials, the zoo said.

"Anything in good working condition from the previous building was used in Panda Passage, including lighting, doorknobs and washroom accessories," the release said.

Panda Passage is the first project in Alberta to receive the institute's designation.

The pandas are on loan to Canada from China. They were relocated to Calgary from Toronto last spring for a five-year period.


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