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Ecolighten was proud to work with Zirnhelt Timber Frames Ltd. and the Esk’etemc First Nation on the Alkali Lake Health and Wellness Centre: a five-bed facility offering culturally appropriate recovery services to indigenous residents of the Thompson Cariboo region.

Located in the remote community of Alkali Lake, west of Williams Lake, the Local Energy Efficiency Partnership (LEEP) demonstration project (in collaboration with Natural Resources Canada, BC Housing, BC Hydro and FortisBC) faced several initial challenges, most notably, the region’s extreme climatic conditions. This is a community where expensive diesel-generated hydro is the only source of energy. Access to local trades and equipment supply chain is limited.


Zirnhelt Timber Frames Ltd.


Alkali Lake, BC

Building Type:

First Nations Rehabilitation Centre

Building Size:

7000 sq. ft. (2 floors and full crawl)


Ecolighten was tasked with finding solutions to all the inherent challenges of this project to design a modern, energy- and cost-efficient HVAC facility that would achieve very ambitious performance targets.

Working within budget and schedule restraints, Ecolighten success was due in large part by effective coordination between the general contractor, local trades, manufacturers, suppliers, utilities and various government agencies.

Room-by-room load calculations (CSA F280-12 code compliant)
Extensive planning and consultation with all stakeholders
Forced air design for cold climate heat pump and heat recovery ventilation
Detailed HVAC drawings with all component specifications & schedules, scope of work and best practices language
Quality assurance including visual inspections and performance testing
  • Mechanical Room Layout
    Mechanical Room Detail

    Mechanical Room Detail

    Section detail of mechanical room showing penetrations into crawl space below.

    Mechanical Room Layout

  • Forced Air Design
    Forced Air Duct Routing

    Forced Air Duct Routing

    Crawl space forced air ducting and piping with detailed air flow targets, fittings, and sizing.

    Forced Air Design

  • Forced Air Design
    Forced Air Duct Routing and Mechanical Room

    Forced Air Duct Routing and Mechanical Room

    Mechanical room plan view and upper levels duct and piping.

    Forced Air Design

    • Zirnhelt Timber Frames

      We really appreciated the experience and expertise that Ecolighten is able to bring to the mechanical HVAC component of our custom home projects. Their Home Performance Design service is an excellent fit to ensure a home will be healthy, comfortable and energy efficient.

      Zirnhelt Timber Frames


      The end result: Alkali Lake Health and Wellness Centre became the first ever project in a First Nations community and in a northern climate to receive a Net Zero Energy Ready label from the Canadian Home Builders’ Association.

      To view the facility and learn more, visit:

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