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Fall/Winter 2008


Fipke Centre a first for
UBC Okanagan

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Fipke Centre a first for UBC Okanagan
Officially opened on Nov. 24, 2008, the new Charles E. Fipke Centre for Innovative Research adds 70,000 square feet of space and opens up new possibilities for teaching and research at UBC Okanagan.

The $31.5-million facility includes computer labs, a 300-seat theatre, classrooms and lecture theatres, wet and dry labs and 65 offices.

The Fipke Centre is the first new building to be completed as part of UBC Okanagan's campus master plan. It is also the first building to use the campus geoexchange groundwater energy system for heating and cooling — a system that will eventually provide heating and cooling to every new and existing academic building on campus.

fipkeOnce finished, the campus-wide geoexchange system is projected to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by more than 88 per cent, or 2,959 tonnes per year, equivalent to taking 14,000 cars off the road over the next two decades. The cost avoidance for UBC Okanagan's geoexchange heating and cooling system — which takes the place of traditional natural gas systems — will be $350,000 per year when existing buildings and four academic buildings currently under construction are connected. In the future, annual cost avoidance will grow to an estimated $610,000 once the entire campus master plan has been built out.

The Fipke Centre's design earned an unprecedented five Green Globes from the Building Owners and Managers Association of Canada, an award reserved for designs serving as national or world leaders in energy and environmental performance.

Another environmentally sustainable feature of the Fipke Centre is its wind tower, which intercepts air, reclaims heat and redistributes it back into the piping system, ensuring there is fresh air in the building at all times.

Charles Fipke, the Kelowna geologist who donated $5 million to help make the centre possible, has given an additional $2 million to equip a new mass spectroscopy lab that will expand the university’s research capacity in geology, chemistry and other fields.

Nov. 24 media release about the Fipke Centre opening

UBCO.TV feature about the official opening