A visit to Energy House on the Dawson Creek campus of Northern Lights College is like a trip to the future of green energy. It also shows the current and future benefits of building with wood. Energy House, the centerpiece of the Centre of Excellence for Clean Energy Technology, provides certification and trades skills for the renewable energy sector and supports applied research into renewable energy. The multi-use facility produces all of its electricity and heating needs through wind turbine, solar, biomass and geoexchange systems, and the structure was built with as much wood as possible. As a result, students have the best learning environment, as well as the best technology to achieve their goals. Studies show wood has a significant impact on indoor environmental quality, directly benefiting human health and providing greater productivity through improved concentration and lower levels of fatigue for building occupants. By using wood, Energy House is able to offer a warm, welcoming environment for students, staff and visitors with a lower carbon footprint and more efficient operation. Energy House was designed to achieve the highest LEED platinum certification. It has two classrooms, meeting facilities and working applications of technologies to save energy, conserve water, and use renewable heat. The project was supported through British Columbia’s Jobs Action Plan and Industry Canada’s Knowledge Infrastructure Program.
Energy House demonstrates clean energy technology, and shows students and visitors the efficiency, the effectiveness and the beauty of wood products. Wood construction is a great choice for educational institutions that want to set a good example by moving toward a more environmentally responsible approach to design and construction.
Local Materials, Local Benefits
By sourcing wood products and hiring construction trades locally where possible, the project provided economic benefits for northern British Columbia. All of the wood used for the tongue-and-groove ceiling millwork, wood-finished walls and glulam, cabinetry and countertops came from local forests, including some impacted by the mountain pine beetle.
Link To Nature: Positive Environment
Energy House chose wood for its tangible connection to nature and the outdoors, something that cannot be matched by other building materials. Wood creates productive and high-quality learning spaces for students and teachers, and research has concluded that wood interiors reduce stress.