Thanks to its ultra-energy efficiency, the Wood Innovation Research Lab (WIRL) is a certified passive house, a building that uses up to 90 per cent less energy for heating and cooling compared with standard buildings.
Located in downtown Prince George, it’s the first building of its type in North America to exceed that international standard.
The WIRL provides University of Northern British Columbia students, faculty and researchers from the Master of Engineering in Integrated Wood Design with the ability to build and test large-scale integrated wood using engineered wood products.
At the Wood Design Awards BC event Monday in Vancouver, Stantec Architecture won the Environmental Performance Award for designing the WIRL. The award is given to the winner that “demonstrates a significant contribution to improving the overall environmental performance of all buildings.”
Featuring wood throughout the interior as both structural and cladding material, the jury noted that the WIRL is a showcase for using wood in an industrial setting in a highly-efficient way.
“This is an extraordinary achievement for us and to have surpassed Passive House standards for a commercial building under super challenging conditions found in our northern climate makes it even greater,” said Dr. Guido Wimmers, chair of the Master of Engineering in Integrated Wood Design program, in a news release. “It took dedication and commitment from all involved companies and partners, especially the ones such as Prince George’s own building company IDL, who helped us hit these records and achieve this award while building to Passive House standards for the very first time.”