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Arts Commons goes green with boost from province

The Government of Alberta is helping the popular Calgary cultural hub, Arts Commons, save money and increase sustainability by supporting energy-efficient upgrades throughout the facility.   

Arts Commons goes green with boost from province

Funding will help support upgrades to Calgary’s Arts Commons to make the cultural hub more eco-friendly and energy efficient. (Photo by Arts Commons).

The province is providing $1 million through the Community Facility Enhancement Program (CFEP) to assist with the replacement of the boilers, hot water and humidification systems, air dampers and outdated controls. The upgrades will make the centre 35 per cent more energy-efficient and address the venue’s outdated control systems to ensure more cost-effective operations for years to come.

“Arts Commons is Calgary’s cultural epicentre, hosting more than 600,000 visitors to over 1,800 performances each year in the heart of the city’s downtown. Upgrades to the facility will help reduce energy costs and ensure that Calgarians, Albertans and visitors to the city can continue to share in the vibrancy of Alberta culture while supporting local business and helping grow tourism in our province.”

Ricardo Miranda, Minister of Culture and Tourism

The switch from boilers to thermal energy will improve energy efficiency by 35 per cent and reduce annual greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 1,198 metric tonnes per year. Total GHG reduction over the 25-year life span of the new heating system is estimated at 29,950 metric tonnes – the equivalent of removing 6,300 cars from Alberta roadways. 

“This investment by the Alberta government is tremendous news for Arts Commons and the more than 250 organizations that use these facilities each year. These critical upgrades will help sustain continued operation of the rehearsal halls, the performance spaces and the galleries where Albertans can experience and share the best of the performing and visual arts from Alberta and around the world, today and into the future.” 

Johann Ziestman, president and CEO, Arts Commons

The $2.5-million upgrade project is now underway with engineering drawings and construction plans developed. Principle construction will begin in July, with completion targeted for the fall of 2018. Provincial funding is being provided using existing resources in the 2017-18 CFEP budget. Arts Commons is contributing almost $500,000 to the project, with additional funding of $1 million provided by the City of Calgary.

Through CFEP, eligible non-profits can access financial assistance to acquire, build, purchase, repair, renovate, upgrade or expand sports, recreational, cultural or other related public-use community facilities. Budget 2018 maintains funding of CFEP at $38 million.

Quick facts

  • According to a 2016 report by Deloitte Canada, Arts Commons generates an estimated $87 million in annual economic activity. Additionally, Arts Commons operations support 431 direct jobs, 373 indirect jobs and 79 induced jobs.
  • Arts Commons is home to numerous resident companies including:
    • Alberta Theatre Projects
    • Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra
    • One Yellow Rabbit Performance Theatre
  • The facility houses six performance venues, several rehearsal halls, scenery, properties and wardrobe shops, and a variety of public engagement spaces and administrative offices.

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