Construction and Design

All new construction is mandated to meet a minimum LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Gold Standard.  This is a requirement of all BC Public Sector Organizations as part of the BC Climate action Plan adopted in 2008.

Operation and Maintenance

Grounds: For full details on our grounds and sustainability planning, click here.

Water Consumption: Okanagan College has a number of initiatives in place to reduce water consumption.  For full details, click here.

Energy Management: The conservation of energy is a key strategy in OC's green initiatives.  Click here for full details.

The Centre for Learning

A Big Idea with a Small Carbon Footprint

The Centre for Learning is a $28 million educational centre that opened on the Kelowna campus in July, 2009. The building is among 10 in Kelowna that are registered LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Gold and is on target to become the first LEED Gold certified building in the city.

The Centre is home to classrooms, student study and social space, faculty and staff offices, an education technology centre and much more. What makes this building so unique is its innovative, environmentally conscious design.

This Centre for Learning uses 47 per cent less energy than prescribed in Canada’s energy-saving National Energy Model and has been built to LEED Gold certification, which means it’s designed, built and operates as a high performance green building.

Compared to standard construction with natural gas boiler operating systems, this building saves approximately 420 tonnes of CO2e per year, the equivalent of taking 118 mid-size cars off the road.

The wood in the beams and ceiling panels in the Centre for Learning comes from B.C. forests. Using materials produced or grown close to home is an important consideration in design and construction of green buildings.

From the carpet tile (post-consumer recycled nylon) to the cork rubber in the classrooms, and the polished cement floors, green is a theme in the Centre for Learning. The carpet tiles are a product of InterfaceFLOR, a worldwide leader in sustainability.

The cork rubber tiles are low in volatile organic compounds and polished concrete floors help regulate the interior climate, are easy to clean and don’t have any harmful chemical finishes or protectants.

The atrium in the Centre for Learning is not air-conditioned. Windows open automatically based on seasonal air temperatures and air circulates naturally to cool the building.

Green design of the Centre for Learning means that 70 per cent of the lighting requirements come from natural light (even when the clouds block the Okanagan sun). Offices and classrooms feature white ceilings to reflect light, and the light fixtures are oriented toward the ceiling to reduce glare.

The Centre for Learning draws 100 per cent of its heating energy from the treated effluent water discharge of the neighboring wastewater treatment plant, operated by the City of Kelowna.

This building’s plumbing was designed with water preservation in mind. The water-efficient landscaping outside is irrigated by treated effluent water from our neighbour, the City of Kelowna’s wastewater treatment plant. Washrooms are equipped with low-flow toilets, motion-detecting faucets and waterless urinals.

The Centre for Learning is equipped with reverse flow ventilation technology, and recovers 90 per cent of the energy from warm and cool air that is expelled from the building. The system captures that energy and reuses it in incoming air.

Outside the Centre for Learning bioswail technology captures rainwater, oil and other chemical agents from cars and filters the water naturally, bypassing storm drains so contaminants do not go into Okanagan Lake. Meanwhile, pervious paving stones that surround the building allow rainwater to naturally recharge the ground below.

Windows that face south and west in this building are finished with fritted glass to reduce the solar impact of the Okanagan sun. The roof is finished with a reflective coating that bounces rays back where they belong.

The main entrance to the Centre for Learning is oriented east, the direction of the rising sun. This design is a reminder of the rich building traditions of the Okanagan people and the important linkage between architecture and cultural values.

Okanagan College is comprised of four regions of equal value, and the Centre for Learning echoes that commitment. The top four floors of this building each reflect a different region through a distinct colour scheme. The main floor represents the College as a whole, while the sandy tan colours on the second floor represent the South Okanagan. The blues of the third floor illustrate the Central Okanagan, and the fourth floor is a mix of blue, green and yellow from the North Okanagan. The fifth floor uses the deep greens and blues of the Shuswap-Revelstoke.

All aluminum used on the outside of this building is recycled material. Inside spaces are equipped with recycling receptacles as well as containers for organic waste disposal - so think twice before tossing fruits and veggies.

This building’s atrium and agora walkways feature in-floor radiant heating and cooling. Depending on the season, cool or warm water from the neighbouring wastewater treatment plant flows through the concrete mass providing long-lasting clean heating and cooling solutions.