There are only nine structures in Canada that received a prestigious Canadian Green Building Award this year. One of those winners is a building in the Okanagan.
The new childcare centre at Okanagan College in Penticton was designed by Landform Architecture Ltd., and built by Ritchie Custom Homes.
The structure is the first commercial building in Canada to receive Passive House certification, which is an international construction standard for energy-efficient buildings, developed in Germany.
The building uses about a quarter of the energy that a typical commercial building would use.
Chris Allen was the main architect on the project. He said the building stays warm in the winter and cool in the summer with very little heating and air conditioning.
“The building is oriented towards the south, so through the winter you’re getting the sun coming through the windows and heating the building,” Allen said. “It’s super insulated; we have 16-inch thick walls which provide a high level of insulation . . . and all the windows are triple glazed.”
Eric Corneau, regional dean of Okanagan College, South Okanagan-Similkameen, says the award is a testament to the college’s commitment to sustainability.
“One of the mission statements or vision for the college is transforming lives in communities, and I think this is a really incredible way of contributing to that transformation,” Corneau said, “. . . and to making sure the communities know that sustainable construction is possible and viable and meaningful.”
Several students attending the college’s Sustainable Construction Management Technology course were involved in the construction of the project.
There are still a few outstanding items needed to make this unique building even more efficient, including landscaping, exterior shading and solar panels, all to be completed within the year.