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May 1, 2019

Calgary Zoo announces receipt of Petal Certification for Panda Passage



CALGARYApril 30, 2019 /CNW/ – Panda Passage is part of the Calgary Zoo’s commitment to cutting-edge habitat design and has received Petal Certification, making it the most advanced habitat in the world, as well as the first project to receive the designation in Alberta.

Petal certification is part of the International Living Future Institute’s (ILFI) Living Building Challenge and recognizes achievement of the world’s most rigorous building standards. Certification means that the Zoo is taking action to ensure the space gives back more than it takes through design and construction.

“We’re so thrilled to see conservation organizations like the Calgary Zoo adopt the Living Building Challenge,” says Parker Helble, Certification Manager at the ILFI. “The zoo and ILFI share similar goals and values and Panda Passage is a wonderful reflection of this. Panda Passage successfully incorporates beauty, biophilia, conservation, health, equity, and education at the intersection of species. 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 achieved four petals toward certification including health and happiness, materials, equity and beauty. The passage design was inspired by the symbiotic relationship between the pandas, people and the building.

“Habitat destruction remains one of the biggest threats to pandas in the wild, much in the same way that the boreal forests and evergreen trees are a concern for wildlife in Canada. As a conservation organization, the Calgary Zoo is committed to using resources in the most efficient way possible and inspiring others by living our conservation philosophy through all that we do,” says Clement Lanthier, President and CEO for the Calgary Zoo.

Construction on the $14.4 million Panda Passage began in 2016, with the support of the Province of Alberta and The City of Calgary and was completed in May of 2018. The habitat features 431 square meters of two indoor lush habitats and 1,512 square meters of outdoor habitat.


  • Health and Happiness Petal: The intent of the Health and Happiness Petal is to focus on the most important environmental conditions that must be present to create robust, healthy spaces. The project must be designed to include elements that nurture the innate human/nature connection.
  • Materials Petal: The intent of the Materials Petal is to help create a materials economy that is non-toxic, ecologically restorative, transparent, and socially equitable.
  • Equity Petal: The intent of the Equity Petal is to transform developments to foster a true, inclusive sense of community that is just and equitable regardless of an individual’s background, age, class, race, gender or sexual orientation.
  • Beauty Petal: The intent of the Beauty Petal is to recognize the need for beauty as a precursor to caring enough to preserve, conserve, and serve the greater good. The project must meaningfully integrate public art and contain design features intended solely for human delight and the celebration of culture, spirit, and place appropriate to the project’s function.
  • Panda Passage is made with non-toxic materials, Forest Stewardship Council certified wood and repurposed materials.
  • Anything in good working condition from the previous building was used in Panda Passage including lighting, doorknobs, and washroom accessories.
  • Large logs in the habitats are deadfall collected from the zoo’s Flood Protection Project.
  • The Panda Passage project accounted for the total embodied carbon (tCO2e) impact from its construction through a one-time carbon offset from an approved carbon offset provider.


The Calgary Zoo is a conservation leader whose mission is to take and inspire action to sustain wildlife and wild places. As a not-for-profit charitable institution, a portion of all revenue is reinvested back into conservation activities at the zoo and around the world. 
Charitable Registration #118824192 RR0001


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