The Centre of Excellence at Okanagan College in Penticton, British Columbia is being designed as one of the most innovative and sustainable post-secondary facilities in the world. On schedule for design and construction to be complete by April 2011, the two-storey multi-purpose facility has a mandate to provide trades and technology training and professional development to students from the province of British Columbia and beyond. It is aimed at attaining the highest standard of sustainable building design, the Living Building Challenge.

The building will support a syllabus with a focus on the design, installation, and support of sustainable building technologies and processes, and the development and application of alternative and renewable energy. The building itself will become an essential element of the educational programs that will reside there, a teaching tool for education on building trades and engineering technologies. In addition, the Okanagan Research Innovation Centre will be incorporated into the building, providing opportunities for start-up companies to develop and prototype new green technologies in a supportive and synergistic environment.

This article will demonstrate that a project with this level of sustainable objectives is achievable at a cost comparable to conventional building design. It will address how this can be attained through an integrated design process, along with the numerous innovative features that have been incorporated into the building design to help it function with a small environmental impact, and a large educational one.

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