no better place to educate construction students in the design, installation
and maintenance of green building technologies than in one of the most
innovative sustainable facilities in the world. Located on Okanagan College’s
Penticton campus, the Jim Pattison Centre of Excellence for Sustainable
Building Technologies and Renewable Energy Conservation is a working model of
all the technologies being taught and is designed so all systems and elements
can be easily observed, accessed and monitored.
A Comprehensive Approach to Sustainability
addition to achieving LEED® Platinum certification, the building incorporates
the design standards of the Living Building Challenge, version 1.3, the most
rigorous sustainability program worldwide,” said Gary Thomas, construction
manager. “This version of LBC focuses on the six performance areas of site, water,
energy, health, materials and beauty + inspiration, as well as on developing a
building with net-zero energy and water consumption. This focus on performance allows
the facility to contribute to the local community and helps make the world a
Rising to such a challenge required
collaboration between all project partners and stakeholders. “The best part
about the project was the team approach,” said, Gary. “We had an excellent
consultant group and an excellent owner’s representative. The College was
the driving force behind the green initiatives, and I think we were fortunate
that there was such an ambitious vision for this building.”
How do you create a building that produces more energy and water
than it uses? You incorporate a three-pronged approach to energy and water use:
conserve, capture and create.
- High insulation levels.
- Triple-glazed, argon-filled windows.
- Vestibules at all primary entrances.
- High-performance doors.
- Solar shading.
- High airtightness performance.
- Passive solar gain.
- Natural ventilation.
- Ground source heating.
- Ground source cooling.
- Light pipe technology that magnifies sunlight by a factor of ten.
- Vacuum-tube solar panels to supply hot-water needs.
- Photovoltaic array — the building contains the largest
photovoltaic array for a non-utility organization in Canada.
- Net metering.
Avoiding the Red List
Avoiding Red List items was the most challenging part of the
project. To meet LBC standards, Red List building materials that are used in standard
construction had to be eliminated. The team conducted extensive research to
find suitable materials and products and even reached out to the International
Living Future Institute (ILFI) for help in finding acceptable alternatives. “LBC
standards require all wood products to be Forest Stewardship Council certified;
at the time of construction, however, 15,600 square miles of forest in close
proximity to the project had been decimated by pine beetles. We worked with the
ILFI to obtain approval to use pine-beetle-kill wood. This helped us resource
almost 100% of the wood from local sources, reduce transport costs, and adhere to
the project’s strict budget,” said Gary.
Unique Temperature Controls
“We installed a combination of engineered wood and concrete composite
wall panels in the gymnasium to accommodate a radiant heating and cooling
system,” said Gary. Radiant heating and cooling is normally restricted to
flooring, but the wood athletic floor in the gym eliminated this possibility.
This is the first time this technology has been used in North America.
Ventilation chimneys naturally draw air through the building and
engage building occupants in helping to control the building’s temperature.
Windows feature a green-light/red-light system that indicates when occupants
should open windows to maximize cooling and shut off the HVAC system or close
windows to preserve the temperature.
Pursuing LEED and LBC
standards ensured the project team embarked on a holistic approach to building
sustainably. The team persevered through many challenges, resulting in an
aesthetically pleasing and regenerative building. The facility will meet the
test of time and equip construction professionals of the next generation with
the knowledge and abilities they need to bring future sustainable buildings to