Okanagan College Child Care Centre


Penticton, B.C.


410 square metres



Project Owner

Okanagan College

Structural Engineer

Aspect Structural Engineers

Engineered Wood Supplier/Fabricator

Boundary Truss Inc.

Project Materials

Cross-laminated timber (CLT)

Laminated veneer lumber (LVL)





Structural Systems

Hybrid / Wood

Light frame

Low rise

Mass timber


First institutional building in Canada to meet stringent Passive House certification requirements

The Okanagan College Child Care Centre was a lesson in using locally sourced mass timber products to help achieve an extremely high insulation value with relatively low energy use, within a 10-month construction schedule.

  • The building uses just one-quarter of the energy that a comparable conventionally built commercial building would require.
  • Students from the sustainable construction program were involved in the design and construction of the Passive House building.
  • All forest products were harvested and milled within the Okanagan region.

Okanagan College Child Care Centre—which provides daycare for the children of faculty, students and the local community—was the first institutional building in Canada to meet stringent Passive House certification requirements. The wood-framed structure uses just one-quarter of the energy that a comparable commercial building would require. Aside from its sustainability benefits, the design team chose wood because it was a cost-effective building material that could be installed quickly.

Wood helped team achieve insulation values

Wood helped the team achieve their goals of a high R-value R-72 for Passive House certification for the walls. Double-stud walls were framed using 2 x 4 spruce-pine-fir (SPF) dimension lumber, then sheathed with plywood on both sides. High-performance adhesive tape was used to seal the plywood joints inside and out, and cellulose insulation was blown in between the 51-cm-thick stud walls. Pitched and parallel-chord wood trusses were used for the roof. As with the walls, the wood trusses provided the depth needed to get high R-84 insulation values.

Local sourcing helps a tight budget and schedule

The design-build team completed the project in just 10 months. It helped that all forest products were harvested and milled within the Okanagan region. The structure was framed with double-stud exterior walls, wood trusses, cross-laminated 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. Douglas-fir was used on the interior door and window frames.

A lesson in sustainable construction

Students from the Sustainable Construction Management Technology program were involved during design and construction of the Centre, gaining first-hand experience in Passive House technology. Carpentry students from the Trade and Apprenticeship program were able to observe the building process.

“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

Glue-laminated timber (Glulam) and sustainable design are featured in this four story upward interior atrium view of the Centre for Interactive Research on Sustainability (CIRS)
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Interior view of Samuel Brighouse Elementary showing student and demonstrating mass timber products, and hybrid timber systems construction
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Exterior snowy early evening view of Coast Mountain College showing significant use of lumber siding, glue-laminated timber (glulam) beams and solid-sawn heavy timbers
Coast Mountain College

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Interior daytime view of Northern Lights College Energy House showing Douglas-fir and western red cedar wood used for the tongue-and-groove ceiling millwork, wood-finished walls and glue-laminated timber (glulam) cabinetry and counters
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