Wood Innovation Research Lab Building Research Report

Exterior daytime view of the Wood Innovation Research Laboratory (built to the Passive House standards) showing wood hybrid construction

The WIRL building was completed in July of 2018 by the University of Northern British Columbia (UNBC) and is located in Prince George, British Columbia.

Built in partnership with the Province of British Columbia, the building was designed to meet Passive House standards, a building certification system that requires the building to have low energy input requirements due to high levels of thermal insulation and minimal air leakage.

To ensure the building achieves the established energy use targets set forth under the Passive House certification system, a computer model of the proposed building design must be completed prior to the start of construction using the Passive House Planning Package (PHPP) software.

Inputs to the model include envelope design, mechanical energy use, building location and airtightness value. Key outputs included the predicted annual heating demand (kWh/m2a), total primary energy demand (kWh/m2a), and air tightness of the building envelope (ACH@50Pa). Based on the final building design model and test results achieved following completion, the WIRL building was deemed to have met all Passive House requirements and certification was achieved.

To complete ongoing data collection of the in-situ performance of the WIRL building, temperature and humidity sensors were installed in two of the exterior wall assemblies and the building’s floor. In addition, gas and electrical energy use meters were installed to monitor the building’s energy consumption.

Wood Innovation Research Lab
Photo credit: Michael Elkan Photography
WIRL Building Research Report

The purpose of this research is to investigate what differences, if any, exist between the modeled energy consumption and building envelope performance of the Wood Innovation Research Laboratory (WIRL) building following eight months of in-situ data collection.