Wood Buffalo Housing and Development opens Stony eco-friendly multi-family development in Fort McMurray, Alberta; development comprises 125 housing units, employs solar-heat to reduce heating costs by 70%-80%

FORT MCMURRAY, Alberta , September 13, 2011 (press release) – When people think Green-they usually don't think of Fort McMurray but the Wood Buffalo Housing & Development Corporation certainly does.

Today marked the official opening of Stony Mountain Plaza in Fort McMurray. The development includes two four-story multi-family apartments consisting of 125 affordable housing units.

"We wanted Stony Mountain Plaza to be a landmark green development in our community and it is," says Bryan Lutes, WBHDC President.

By employing solar-heat replenishment of a geo-exchange field, heating costs will be reduced by 70% to 80%. "That is exceptional when one thinks of winter in Fort McMurray," adds Lutes.

Stony Mountain Plaza's second green initiative comes from the application of sophisticated modular construction technology. Research conducted at the University of Alberta shows that these construction techniques may result in a 43% reduction in greenhouse gasses during construction. Additionally, the solar-heat/geo-exchange technologies will substantially reduce greenhouse gasses for years to come because of less use of natural gas.

This project would not have proceeded without the support of the Alberta Government's generous contribution of $18.75 million plus land to assist with this $32 million affordable housing community. "We sincerely thank them for their commitment to the development of quality housing in Fort McMurray," says Lutes.

"We retained Integrated Management & Realty Ltd. as development manager for the project. It was a partnership that continues to work extremely well because they immediately grasped our needs and brought the appropriate team together to complete the development. Their experience in modular construction was invaluable," says Lutes.

"Clear benefits of modular construction include quality control, limited impact from weather during construction and most of all a reduced development time. This project was completed in 15 months compared to at least 24 months if it had been built using conventional stick-built construction," says Gord White, President of Integrated Management & Realty.

"People have already moved in and are very happy with their new homes," adds Lutes. "We have been able to provide 125 high-quality apartments in record time and that is something that is really needed in Fort McMurray."

"This is our third community to include geothermal heating," he adds. "The first two, The Delta @ Meadow Creek Village and Creekside @ Meadow Creek Village have a total of 93 units. The 125-unit Stony Mountain Plaza is the largest multi-family development in Canada to be served by geo-exchange and solar heating."

"Another environmental success is the TaigaNova Eco-Industrial Park which includes the first LEED Gold industrial building in Alberta. The Park will include additional LEED-certified buildings as individual lots are developed. It may be difficult for people to conceive of Fort McMurray being Alberta's environmental leader-but we are and we intend to stay there," concludes Lutes.

The Wood Buffalo Housing & Development Corporation was created to contribute quality affordable housing options for families while contributing to the permanence of Wood Buffalo communities. Since 2001, WBHDC has provided affordable housing for over 5,237 families in Fort McMurray and the Municipality of Wood Buffalo.

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