PRINCE GEORGE, B.C. — A new centre will give Prince George, B.C. engineering students access to state-of-the-art research facilities to create sustainable wood engineering solutions.
The Wood Innovation Research Laboratory at the University of Northern British Columbia (UNBC), located next to the Wood Innovation and Design Centre, features a 1,070-square-metre lab with a wood conditioning and processing room as well as office and classroom spaces.
Students, researchers and faculty members can build and test large scale wood structures using engineered wood products.
The $5.3-million project was funded with $3.4 million from the Government of British Columbia and $1.9 million from the Government of Canada’s Post-Secondary Institutions Strategic Investment Fund.
The City of Prince George provided land for the project.
The B.C. Ministry of Jobs, Trade and Technology will provide the UNBC with almost $800,000 to provide up-to-date tools and equipment, with a matching investment from the Government of Canada.
“This historic investment by the Government of Canada is a down payment on the government’s vision to position Canada as a global centre for innovation,” said federal Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development Navdeep Bains in a statement.
“That means making Canada a world leader in turning ideas into solutions, science into technologies, skills into jobs and startup companies into global successes. This investment will create conditions that are conducive to innovation and long-term growth, which will in turn keep the Canadian economy globally competitive.”
“The wood innovation research lab is great news for students and researchers at UNBC, who now have access to state-of-the art facilities and equipment. Their innovation and research will contribute to our thriving forestry sector, helping us maintain B.C.’s position as a world leader in wood construction, products and design,” B.C. Minister of Jobs, Trade and Technology Bruce Ralston added.
The research lab cuts energy consumption by up to 90 per cent and uses up to 70 per cent less energy overall compared to a similar standard building, which approaches passive house criteria, explains a release.
“This new lab is a magnificent addition to UNBC’s presence in downtown Prince George, and the results of the research will have a significant impact across our region and around the world,” said UNBC tall wood and hybrid structures engineering research chair Thomas Tannert.