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College hosts session on combining construction program and green building project

Res Con 7Would-be builders and carpenters have a chance on Nov. 23 to find out more about a course next spring that will take them onto the jobsite of tomorrow as Okanagan College instructors and students help to construct one of the most energy efficient homes in the region.
 
The College’s Trades Department is hosting an information session at 5 p.m. on the evening of Nov. 23 to showcase a Residential Construction program that will see students working side-by-side with a local homebuilder to construct two homes in the Wilden subdivision in Kelowna.
 
Students who sign up for the College’s Residential Construction program in February will have a unique opportunity to hone their skills through a unique research project designed to study how new building technologies can translate to energy savings for homeowners.
 
The 26-week course will introduce students to all aspects of the construction trades, including familiarization with the latest building materials and installation techniques. Graduates will receive Level 1 technical training credit and credit for 450 work-based hours toward completion of the Carpenter Level 1 apprenticeship program.
 
As part of the building project, two single-family “Living Laboratory” homes will be constructed on lots provided by Wilden developer Blenk Development Corporation. The first home will be built to current building code, while the second will be designed and built to push the envelope and achieve next-level energy efficiency through the use of a number of emerging sustainable building technologies.
 
Students from the Residential Construction program will work with local builder AuthenTech Homes to install the latest energy efficient technologies into the second home. Researchers from UBCO’s School of Engineering will then monitor and compare the energy use of both homes over the next three years and report their findings.
 
“We are very excited to see the contributions the students will make, both on the construction side and the technology side,” says Scott Tyerman, President of AuthenTech Homes. “At the end of the day, there is potential to gain some major insights into how homebuilders and homeowners can get the most out of these new technologies.”
 
“These students are the future of our industry,” adds Russ Foster, President of Blenk Development Corporation and Wilden’s Project Manager. “We feel it is important to work with the College and UBCO to ensure that students have meaningful opportunities to build their skills and put their knowledge to work.”
 
While the technology involved may be new, the project builds on over a decade of community partnerships for Okanagan College’s Residential Construction program.

To date, students have contributed to nearly 50 building projects like this throughout the valley, with the College’s Trades Department always on the lookout for new opportunities for students to gain practical experience in the construction workplace.
 
“This project is exciting because it will give our students the hands-on training of building homes, as well as the chance to explore and implement the latest green building technologies and techniques,” says Steve Moores, Okanagan College’s Dean of Trades and Apprenticeship.
 
“The practical experience of being on the jobsite for a very high-end build like this, and receiving mentorship from a builder like AuthenTech homes, is so valuable for students. We are very grateful to the builder and the developer for giving our students this opportunity.”
 
The info session will take place on Nov. 23 at 5 p.m. in room T137, Okanagan College Kelowna Campus, 1000 KLO Road. Space is limited and those interested are asked to RSVP to Nancy Ankerstein, Program Administrator for Trades and Apprenticeship by email: Nankerstein@okanagan.bc.ca.
 
Design and preparation for the build is underway. Construction on the homes is expected to begin next spring.
 
The Residential Construction program is offered at the College’s Kelowna, Penticton, Vernon, and Salmon Arm campuses.