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UNBC opens Wood Innovation Research Lab

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Advanced Education Minister Melanie Mark was busy Tuesday. First making multiple annnouncements of funding at the College of New Caledonia, the making an announcement for the University of Northern British Columbia.

UNBC has officially opened its Wood Innovation Research Laboratory with the help of Mark and funding from the government.

The lab will allow students, researchers, and faculty to build and test large-scale wood structures using engineered wood products, which complements the Wood Innovation and Design Centre next to the lab.

“It’s going to give opportunities to students to be able to figure out what does pushing the envelope look like and how is it going to help our [forestry] sector throughout BC,” says Mark.

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The City of Prince George provided the land for the building. The project totals $5.3-million, with $3.4-million coming from the BC Government and the remaining $1.9-million from the Canadian Government’s Post-Secondary Institutions Strategic Investment Fund.

Being listed as one of the most energy-efficient buildings in all of BC, the lab is on track to meet strict passive house criteria. It cuts heating energy consumption by up to 90% and uses up to 70% less energy overall when compared to a similar standard building.

“We want to do everything we can to couple innovation with forestry,” Mark explains of the new facility’s capabilities.

“We know that forestry is the backbone of British Columbians, it’s a resource sector that we’ve relied on for a very long time. Let’s add the 21st century to that and push the envelope.”

The Ministry of Jobs, Trade, and Technology is also providing $799,000 in funding for up-to-date tools and equipment for the lab. This, on top of other funding, brings the total money being given for equipment to just under two million dollars.

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