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Okanagan College received the inaugural ASTTBC TECHGreen Award for an organization on Nov. 6, 2010 - from left, Trevor Williams, (BCIT's Dean of Energy), the Hon. John Yap, BC Minister of State for Climate Change, and ASTTBC President Doug Carter (President UNBC, far right) presented Jim Hamilton, President, Okanagan CollegeDonna Lomas, South Okanagan-Similkameen Regional Dean, and Vice-President Education Andrew Hay with the award.
Since its beginnings in the early 1960s, Okanagan College has become the largest college in the BC interior and B.C.’s second largest trades training institution.It has a long history of working with ASTTBC.
The College is a major engine of economic, cultural and social growth in the Southern Interior, with over 1,000 staff serving more than 20,000 students annually.
Beyond responding to education and training needs, the College is demonstrating leadership at a regional, provincial, national and international level in environmental responsibility and stewardship.
A flagship example of that commitment is the $28-million Centre of Excellence in Sustainable Building Technology and Renewable Energy Conservation, under construction in Penticton and due to be finished in March 2011. This 70,000 square foot facility will be among the greenest buildings on the continent and all involved hope to achieve the Living Building Challenge, the highest international standard of sustainability, including zero net energy use.
Drawing international interest, this building is demonstrating that a “deep green” construction approach doesn’t have to mean “deep green” budget. This new building comes on the heels of the 2009 completion of the College’s Centre for Learning in Kelowna, which has recently been submitted for LEED Platinum Certification.
Okanagan College has taken a lead in adopting policies and practices for environmental stewardship.It has helped create a national network of Colleges focused on training, research and partnerships associated with green buildings. Okanagan College is at the heart of a Canadian initiative funded by Environment Canada to develop new approaches to sustainable building design among Asia-Pacific nations.
Facilities are just part of the picture. Okanagan College offers a respected program in water quality and environmental engineering technology, is developing an Environmental Conservation Technician program in association with the En’Owkin Centre and the Okanagan Nation Alliance, and is developing a new Sustainable Construction Management Engineering Technology program.
For these reasons, and a host of others, Okanagan College is a tremendous inaugural recipient of an award that we hope inspires other organizations and ASTTBC members to become champions for sustainability.