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November 10, 2010

TECHGreen Award

by okanagancollegesustainability

The Applied Science Technologists and Technicians of BC (ASTTBC) has named Okanagan College the first Organizational Winner of its new TechGREEN Award, based largely on its new Penticton Campus Centre of Excellence.

College President Jim Hamilton accepted the award from John Yap, Minister of State for Climate Action, at a Vancouver ceremony hosted by the 9,500 member professional association Saturday, November 6.

“Our members are fully committed to incorporating and promoting sustainable practices in the workplace and the home,” explains John Leech, Executive Director of ASTTBC. “The Okanagan College Penticton Centre of Excellence project was unsurpassed in this year’s nominations of organizations.

TechGREEN Awards recognize and celebrate the best of the best. Nominees must demonstrate leadership and significant involvement in sustainable best practices, energy conservation and environmental benefit.”

Accepting the Award, Okanagan College President Jim Hamilton stated, “As partners, we applauded ASTTBC’s decision to launch the TechGreen Award when it was announced. It signals the sector’s realization of the importance of embedding sustainability into what we do and say. To be named inaugural winner of the award is flattering, but more importantly, it signals to our staff, students and partners that we’re on the right track. It communicates that the investment made in a greener approach to planning and practice is being noticed.”

Nominator Bill Billups, AScT, currently working for the Canadian Wood Council as a Technical Advisor for Wood WORKS! BC was part of the Design Team, providing technical assistance for using wood in the design of non-residential building projects.

“A key feature in this project is its heavy use of wood including beetle-killed pine. The new campus building will be beyond the current built environment gold standard, even beyond platinum; the ‘Living Building Challenge’ – the highest international standard of sustainability, including zero net energy use.”

Billups cited the Regional College Dean and the Penticton OK Rotary Club as key drivers of the project, saying that the purpose of the $28-million Centre of Excellence building is to train technologists, technicians and tradespersons in the design and construction of fully sustainable buildings. “This building boasts built-in monitoring to make it a living laboratory, ensuring that any system failure is immediately corrected, and that future technological improvements can be incorporated,” Billups pointed out. “There will be zero water loss, and we see a future without air conditioners, with air quality systems powered by photovoltaics.”

John Leech of ASTTBC lauded Okanagan College on taking a lead in adopting policies and practices for environmental stewardship. “Okanagan College has helped create a national network of Colleges focused on training, research and partnerships associated with green buildings. The 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 respected programs in water quality and environmental engineering technology, and is developing an Environmental Conservation Technician program and a new Sustainable Construction Management Engineering Technology program.”

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