Jim Pattison Centre of Excellence in Sustainable Building Technologies and Renewable Energy Conservation at Okanagan College


An education in sustainability.

The Centre of Excellence for Sustainable Building Technologies and Renewable Energy Conservation was conceived to meet the urgent need for tradespeople, site managers and construction workers who are skilled in the practices of sustainable building.

It is also designed to be one of most innovative and advanced sustainable facilities in the world, designed to the standards of the Living Building Challenge, the most rigorous sustainability program on the planet. HDR | CEI was selected to lead the project due to the reputation of our design charrette to kick-start the design process and get support and contributions from a diverse group of stakeholders.

The integrated design team recognized that achieving a facility with net-zero energy and water consumption, as required for Living Building certification, requires a three-pronged approach to energy and water use: conserve, capture and create. Additionally, the design had to be highly adaptable, so that as time passes, new technologies can easily replace old, ensuring relevance and currency with the changing curriculum. All project features are designed around these realities.

The most exhilarating aspect of the Centre of Excellence is that the building itself will be used extensively as part of the teaching curriculum. The design allows most aspects of the building and its systems to be accessible and demonstrable, and live building data will be available to learn from. To encourage conservation and behavioural adaptation, energy use will be metered at each classroom, workshop, office and other areas. Real-time energy usage will be demonstrated in each space with red/yellow/green indicators and full LED displays showing comprehensive data.

The Centre of Excellence is a living experiment in sustainable innovation, and a testament to the power of integrated design. We hope the lessons learned from its design, construction and ongoing operations will educate its students and inspire other communities to follow suit, resulting in a building that lives up to its name.

Project Cost



6,780 sq m


May 2011

Sustainable Features

  • Certified LEED Platinum
  • Targets Living Building Challenge
  • Largest photovoltaic array for a non-utility organization in Canada
  • Expected to consume less energy than a typical LEED Gold building
  • Sun-tracking light pipes magnify sunlight by a factor of ten
  • Vacuum tube solar panels supply hot water needs
  • Accessible green roof planted with local flora attracts local species
  • Nearly 100% B.C. wood, including local pine beetle-kill and FSC timber


Gold (1st place), Post-Secondary category, 2016

The Corporate Knights Green Building Review

2012 Green GOOD DESIGN™ Award

The European Centre for Architecture and The Chicago Athenaeum

Canadian Green Building Award, 2012

Canadian Green Building Council

Regional Merit Award, 2012

The Canadian Society of Landscape Architects

TechGREEN Award, 2011

Applied Science Technologists and Technicians of BC

PowerSense Conservation Excellence and Leadership Awards, 2011

Fortis BC




“…the best example of a well integrated passive design solution in which the architecture was not over- burdened with technology. A common sense approach to envelope design, heating, ventilation and daylighting is supplemented by innovative water and waste treatment systems.”

Jury comments

2012 Canadian Green Building Awards


Okanagan College


Penticton, BC


Science & Technology, Academic