Building of the Month: Okanagan College Child Care Centre

Photo: John Adrian

Project Overview

At its very heart, the Okanagan College Child Care Centre is a project dedicated to sustainability. The first institutional building in Canada to meet stringent Passive House certification requirements, this wood-framed structure uses just one-quarter of the energy that a comparable commercial building would require.
While the design team considered other structural materials, they chose wood because it was a sustainable, cost-effective building material that could be installed quickly. Okanagan College administrators wanted to show that Passive House compliance was possible within the institutional building realm.

Wood Use

Okanagan College had a tight budget and schedule constraints. The design-build team completed the project in just 10 months.
This structure was framed with double-stud exterior walls, wood trusses, crosslaminated timber (CLT) for the entrance canopy and laminated veneer lumber (LVL) for window and door headers. Inside, they used birch wall paneling in the central corridor; interior door and window frames were Douglas-fir. All forest products were harvested and milled within the Okanagan region.
Photo: John Adrian

Wood fit well with our philosophy on this project that less is more. It’s tempting to want to try something new, but we needed to build this facility quick; we didn’t have time to experiment. Part of the benefit of using wood in a high-performance structure like this is that you’re working with something that’s familiar, easy to get and locally-available; our tradespeople know how to work with wood.

– Nicholas Hill, President and Owner/General Manager, Ritchie Contracting and Design Ltd.