Canadian Pacific Railway employees began moving from the company’s downtown Calgary offices to new $38-million headquarters at its Ogden rail yard in early September with all 1,900 staff members expected to make the transition before the year ends. The company is expected to save an estimated $15 million annually by occupying its own premises adjacent to key rail operations rather than continuing to rent expensive downtown offices at Gulf Canada Square.

Operating expenses at the new building will be kept to a minimum through substantial energy savings. “We incorporated sustainability into all of our construction decisions to create headquarters that embody our commitment to efficiency and the environment,” says spokesper son Andy Cummings.

The 214,000 square feet of space on two storeys was built using the foundation and core structure of a freight-car repair shop. “Approximately 70 per cent of the removed material was sent for recycling and was ultimately re-used elsewhere,” Mr. Cummings says. “This includes 10 million tonnes of metal, 4,630 tonnes of paving asphalt, and 2,554 tonnes of concrete.” High-efficiency insulation and windows have made the new building 35 per cent more energy efficient than the large shop it replaces. Smaller diameter piping will reduce water usage. “All 2,000 interior high-efficiency LED lights are connected to motion sensors so they automatically shut off when rooms aren’t in use,” Mr. Cummings says. “All of the exterior lighting automatically switches on at sunset and off at sunrise.”

A large berm created from dirt and covered with trees, shrubs and grass will reduce the noise from the adjacent rail tracks, as well as direct rainwater towards the property’s green spaces to help water trees and gardens. A total of 350 trees have been planted to improve the site’s envi ronment and create shaded outdoor seating areas for employees and visitors.

While the move to new headquarters is primarily motivated by CEO Hunter Harrison’s objective to dramatically reduce the company’s overhead, it also indicates his desire to have the company make a major cultural shift away from downtown’s glass towers back to where the company started in Calgary a century ago. The greater sustainability achieved in the process is expected to generate significant company savings for decades to come.