An energy-efficiency research project involving students from Okanagan College and UBC Okanagan officially broke ground on Thursday, March 31. Known as the Wilden Living Lab, the project will see two very unique homes constructed on neighbouring lots in the Wilden subdivision.
The “Home of Today” will be built to current building code standards including the use of a natural gas furnace,standard plumbing fixtures and appliances, double pane windows, incandescent lighting, and insulation levels that include R-22 in the walls and R-40 in the ceilings.
The “Home of Tomorrow” will incorporate a number of additional features, including a geothermal heat pump, water-saving toilets and faucets, triple pane windows, photovoltaic solar panels, net metering, ICF wall construction, LED lighting, and insulation levels that include R-24 in the walls and R-70 in the ceiling.
A class of 17 students from the Residential Construction program will participate in the build over the next three months,working side-by-side with tradespeople from AuthenTech Homes. Once the homes are completed and sold, researchers from UBC’s School of Engineering will use sensors built into the homes to monitor the energy use of both dwellings for a period of three years.
“With a province-wide skills gap on the horizon, we deeply appreciate the way Wildenand AuthenTech Homes have stepped up in support of the next wave of tradespeople,” says Okanagan College President Jim Hamilton. “The Wilden LivingLab presents a tremendous opportunity for our students to receive hands-on training and work with local industry leaders.”
Dean of Trades and Apprenticeship Steve Moores and Associate Dean Randy Werger also participated in the groundbreaking event and touched on the impact of this opportunity as a training experience for students.
"Our students not only get the benefit of working on very high-end, cutting-edge homes, they get a chance to meet some of the valley's prominent employers in this sector, which are great connections to make. The jobsite experience they gain here will serve them well in the future," says Moores.
In addition to providing the lots for the project (valued at more than $200,000 each), Wilden has also contributed $100,000 to the Okanagan College Foundation's Bright Horizons campaign in support of the new trades training complex in Kelowna. Wilden's support helped to build a new student seating area in the atrium of the building.
Updates on the project will be posted in the coming weeks at www.wildenlivinglab.com.
Scott Tyerman, AuthenTech Homes; MLA Norm Letnick; Karin-Eger Blenk and Russ Foster of Wilden; Jim Hamilton, Okanagan College; Dr. Deborah Buszard, UBC Okanagan; MP Stephen Fuhr. (2): Steve Moores and Randy Werger.