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March 13, 2012

Campus Facilities Boast Green Policies

by Arnica Rowan

Campus Planning and Facilities Management at Okanagan College is committed to environmentally sustainable maintenance and development.   

An Introduction to Sustainability at Okanagan College

Okanagan College is comprised of 4 campuses. The properties represent a total area of approximately 93.5 acres. Approximately 41.1 acres is an assortment of treed areas interspersed with turf, natural grassland and various planted arrangements of perennials and indigenous flora. Much of the green area also acts as a natural wildlife habitat. Two of the campuses border natural wetland. Of the 41 acres, almost 75% is either natural non-irrigated terrain or xeriscaped. Our irrigation practices as well as plant selection are designed and selected to minimize our water usage wherever possible. All landscape work is contracted out to local landscape contractors. Where possible, the landscaping materials are diverted to our composing program. Click here for full details on our grounds.

All new construction at Okanagan College 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.  Click here for details on our buildings.

We have an extensive energy management program that actively seeks ways to reduce energy consumption across all campuses.  Our energy management program is outlined here.

Facilities Management has implemented a number of water conservation initiatives including low flow fixtures in new buildings, bottle water stations, xeriscaping to reduce irrigation, and reclaimed water for irrigation.  Water conservation initiatives can be found here.

Facilities management is also responsible for all custodial upkeep on campus.  In our new LEED certified buildings, all products are “Greenseal” or “EcoLogo” certified.  We are in the process of upgrading all of our other products in non-certified buildings, a process that will be completed by 2012.  Click here for full details.

Okanagan College focuses on waste reduction and recycling through a number of key programs, including several innovative programs.  In addition to the standard policies and practices, OC recycles Styrofoam packaging for reuse in septic tank systems with a local company and crushes Compact Fluorescent Lights for use in asphalt surfacing.  Waste reduction details can be found here.

Okanagan College is committed to the BC Government’s requirement that all Public Sector Organizations become “Carbon Neutral”.  In addition to purchasing carbon offsets, OC actively works to reduce carbon emissions through such programs as our energy plan and promoting car-pooling and public transit.

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