A Sustainable Collaboration

Stantec Turns to Cross-Discipline Teamwork to Create Sustainable Communities, Infrastructure and Buildings.

As a certain frog once said, it’s not easy being green. Building a sustainable future for our community takes long-term vision, teamwork and collaboration.

The spirit of collaboration certainly rings true within Stantec’s Waterloo Region office, a vibrant workspace where architects, engineers, planners and others team daily on a wide range of projects from new construction, to residential community development, to infrastructure renewal. Collaboration is not the only common denominator you will find throughout office locations; sustainability is built into the culture of the business and into every client project the firm takes on.

Stantec looks at sustainability from three independent but intertwined perspectives. From a planning perspective, the firm looks at creating sustainable communities. From an engineering perspective, Stantec looks at creating more sustainable infrastructures. And from an architectural perspective, it looks at creating sustainable buildings. Through collaboration, those perspectives help to shape every project and every client relationship.

Creating sustainable communities

“Sustainability is about looking at the larger picture and the quality of life,” explains Krista Walkey, Senior Planner, Stantec. “When we are building communities we look at the environmental considerations, the economic considerations and the social considerations, which demands collaboration across all our disciplines. Through this integrated approach, Stantec stays true to our “We do it right” value statement.

Walkey goes on to add that building today and tomorrow’s sustainable communities means taking a more holistic approach than in the past. Planning considerations go beyond mapping out roads and building placement, to include parks, pedestrian routes, as well as mixed-use (live and work) considerations, while keeping the connection to the larger community in mind.

Creating sustainable infrastructure

It’s a fact. Much of the infrastructure supporting our community is aging. Stantec is looking for ways to not only solve this problem, but to prevent it from happening again in the future. “You can build the same and be in the same position 20 or 30 years from now, or you can change your approach, communicate amongst all disciplines and build smarter infrastructures that can support us for 100 years or more,” explains Kevin Fergin, Principal, Practice Leader - Community Development, and Office Leader, Stantec.

Fergin explains that Stantec has invested in the Institute for Sustainable Infrastructure (ISI) Envision™, a comprehensive framework to assist designers, owners and builders plan, construct, manage and rate infrastructure to increasing levels of sustainability and resource efficiency.

In March 2015, Stantec was awarded an ISI Envision Platinum award for sustainable infrastructure for the Grand Bend Area Wastewater Treatment Facility under construction on the shores of Lake Huron.

Creating sustainable buildings

“In the past there was a very linear approach to architecture. The architect came with a sketch, passed it on to planners and engineers, then to a contractor to bid.” Now, with sustainability issues we need to think holistically,” says Andre Arseneault, Stantec Architecture.

Here too, technology is making the difference. Andre’s Stantec architecture team uses building information modeling (BIM) -- cutting edge technology that provides insight in planning, designing, constructing and managing high performance sustainable buildings. Stantec uses Revit® building design software to bring ideas from concept to construction.

Stantec’s team of professionals collaborate daily on sustainable initiatives for clients, and Krista, Kevin and Andre are helping to guide their clients in building more sustainable communities, infrastructure and buildings. Now, the trio will themselves get to enjoy the fruits of their labour, as Stantec makes the move to the David Johnston R+T Park in the fall of 2015. Krista Walkey was the senior planner responsible for laying out the Park, and Stantec oversaw the construction of the LEED Gold certified innoTECH building – the Waterloo Region office's new home.

“It kind of feels like we’ve come full circle with our sustainability story,” chuckles Krista.