Dedicated to sustainable,
high performance building

Okanagan College Child Care Centre – Penticton, BC

Institutional [Small] Award

Jury comments: As a structure designed to the rigorous Passive House standard, this building is notable for the beauty and simplicity of its environmental systems. The building relies mostly on local materials and very economical passive design strategies, yet also addresses cross-cultural issues and creates a symbolic new gateway to the college campus.


The Okanagan College campus straddles the boundary between the City of Penticton and the Penticton Indian Reserve. The college and the En’owkin Centre, the cultural centre of the Syilx nation, are located directly across the river from one another. To acknowledge the cross-cultural nature of the community it serves, the Child Care Centre has bilingual signage, and each of the four Child Care spaces has been given the name and colour palette of one of the four traditional food staples [or ‘chiefs’] of the Okanagan people.

The site for the project is a previously developed area at the edge of the campus, which over time had reverted to an open meadow. With the building and its surroundings acting as a new campus gateway, indigenous planting and a solar walkway are used to define the pedestrian route and the publicly accessible meadow area. Each of the four child care spaces within the building has its own contained outdoor play area, which is surrounded by tall native grasses.

The physical form of the building was developed to maximize natural ventilation. South-facing windows have low operable air intake vents, and a double-height lantern at the centre of the building, with automatic opening clerestory windows to exhaust stale air.  The lantern opens north to shield from summer heat gain, but also to capitalize on a venturi effect from prevailing winds. During the heating season, air is provided through a super-efficient heat recovery ventilator. A desire to connect indoor and outdoor spaces was at the core of the design model for the Child Care Centre. Each of the four Child Care rooms has a contained outdoor space equal to twice the area of the indoor space. The design of the rooms focuses on large windows and doors which provide constant visual and physical connection to the outdoor rooms.

 PlastiSpan® EPS Insulation by Plasti-Fab Ltd. contributes to the high insulation levels with its use at the concrete slab [see drawing].

The project uses a Mitsubishi Electric City Multi heat pump system for room by room heating and cooling.


Owner/Developer Okanagan College
Landform Architecture
Structural Engineer
Aspect Engineers
Mechanical Engineer
Butler Engineering
Electrical engineer
Associated Engineering
Building Envelope and Energy Consultants
BC Building Science
Passive House Consultant
Chris Snyder
General contractor
Ritchie Custom Homes
Geotechnical Consultant
Paul Glen
Jon Adrian


The passive house requirement for space heating/cooling is 15 kWh/[m²a].
The PHPP model for the project shows 5.7.
The requirement for Primary Energy Demand is 60 kWh/[
The PHPP model for the project shows 44.0.

See the 2018 Canadian Green Building Awards Winning Projects.