Canadian college's green buildings recognized

Canadian college's green buildings recognized

Photo courtesy of Okanagan College

Green technology took top nods at the 25th Tommie Awards, with two Okanagan College projects recognized for their environmental innovation.

Held by the Canadian Home Builders Association, the Tommie Awards celebrate the achievements of the Okanagan's building industry’s finest.

One of the most advanced and sustainable trades training facilities, the college’s new Trades Complex at the Kelowna campus landed top spot for Best Environmental Initiative at the awards gala Jan. 28, reports Okanagan Life.

The three-year, $35-million project was designed by Diamond Schmitt Architects in association with David Nairne + Associates and constructed by PCL Constructors Westcoast Inc. with the goal to be certified LEED platinum and achieve net zero energy usage.

The project involved a 10,000-square meter renovation and expansion that included building a new three-story learning space and state-of-the-art workshops, as well as retrofitting and environmentally upgrading existing facilities.

The heating system uses waste heat from the treated effluent of the neighboring wastewater treatment plant, and the facility boasts the second largest photovoltaic solar array on a non-utility institutional building in western Canada, generating enough energy to power more than 25 homes per year – the college’s Jim Pattison Centre of Excellence in Penticton is currently the largest solar array.

The Trades Complex also incorporates smart technologies to minimize its carbon footprint. The automated windows of the “breathing” atrium regulate heating and cooling based on temperature and sun position. Trades shops were outfitted with on-demand ventilation to significantly reduce energy waste during hands-on training.

The complex, which officially opened in September 2016, has the capacity to train 2,700 students a year for in-demand skills.

The Trades Complex is the college’s first campus building to win a Tommie and is one of two sustainability-focused projects the college was involved with that were honored at this year’s ceremony.

The Wilden Living Lab, a collaborative project between the College and four community partners, also received a gold, winning the FortisBC Award for Building Energy Efficiency.

Built with assistance from 17 of the college’s Residential Construction students, the Living Lab is a real-world study on sustainable homebuilding – the only of its kind in North America.

Comprised of two identical homes with different energy-efficient technologies that will be monitored and compared over a three-year period, the Lab’s Home of Tomorrow incorporates renewable energy sources, including geothermal heating and cooling, solar panels and a heat pump water heater.


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