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UNBC’s Wood Innovation Research Lab wins wood design award

The building was recognized for Environmental Performance
unbc wood
UNBC's Wood innovation Research Lab. (via Hanna Petersen)

Prince George is now home to another wood building that has been provincially recognized for excellence in design.

UNBC’s Wood Innovation Research Lab, on 1153 Fourth Ave., has won the Environmental Performance Award at the Wood Works! 2019 Wood Design Awards in B.C.

The awards are the initiative of the Canadian Wood Council, with the goal to support innovation and provide leadership on the use of wood and wood products.

More than 400 architects, structural engineers, developers, project teams, industry sponsors and guests gathered at the award ceremony, which took place in Vancouver on Monday (March 4).

There were 103 nominations in 14 categories from many locations in B.C. as well as the U.S. and Asia, including international projects in China, Korea, and Tajikistan.

UNBC’s Wood Innovation Research Lab was selected because it demonstrates a significant contribution to improving the overall environmental performance of all buildings.

The jury which was made up of four industry professionals said the building was “a showcase for using wood in an industrial setting in a highly efficient way.”

The building itself is passive house certified and features wood throughout the interior as both structural and cladding material.

The award noted that designing the walls and roof systems required innovative and careful planning to counterbalance Prince George’s extreme climate.

The wall truss design had to be unique due to the Passive House requirements, but the structure is made with conventional building materials fabricated by a local residential truss manufacturer.

The completed construction set a new standard for airtightness, securing the best North American result of any building under Passive House standard.

With a score of 0.07, the building surpassed the Passive House requirement by nearly a factor of 10. This required careful planning in wall assembly construction, sealing of membranes, and consideration for air leakage at all interfaces – especially openings like around the garage door.

The Lheidli T’enneh Memorial Park Pavilion was also nominated at the 2019 Wood Design Awards, but didn’t take home any trophies.

Previous local award winners include the Prince George Airport expansion, Kordyban Lodge, the Dr. Donald Rix Northern Health Sciences Centre, and the Wood Innovation and Design Centre.