Okanagan College takes top awards for Best Environmental Initiative on campus

Okanagan College

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

One of the most advanced and sustainable trades training facilities in the world, the College’s new Trades Complex at the Kelowna campus landed top spot for Best Environmental Initiative at the Canadian Home Builders’ Association – Okanagan Chapter Awards Gala on Jan. 28.

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 ambitious project involved a 10,000 sq. metre 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.

Every effort was made in the Complex’s design to integrate renewable energy sources. The heating system utilizes waste heat from the treated effluent of the neighbouring 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.

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