The Wood Innovation Research Laboratory

The WIRL provides students, faculty members and researchers from UNBC’s Master of Engineering in Integrated Wood Design program with the ability to build and test large-scale integrated wood structures using engineered wood products such as Cross-Laminated Timber, Glued Laminated Timber and Laminated Veneer Lumber. The over-height, single-storey structure features a high-head lab for tall projects and a portion of the building consists of a strong floor and wall to support testing equipment and a crane.

The building is designed to meet Passive House standards, which includes stringent energy efficiency requirements. Certified Passive House buildings use up to 90 per cent less energy for heating and cooling when compared with standard buildings and use up to 70 per cent less energy overall.

The $4.5 million building is a joint federal-provincial investment, with the Government of Canada contributing $1.88 million and the Government of British Columbia contributing $2.62 million. The City of Prince George is providing land for the lab.

The WIRL complements the nearby Wood Innovation and Design Centre by providing dedicated research space, which enables researchers to discover new, sustainable ways to integrate wood into building design and construction.

2022 Building Fire updates

There was an explosion and fire in downtown Prince George on the morning of Aug. 22, 2023 at a building next to UNBC’s Wood Innovation and Research Lab (WIRL). The lab’s west wall caught fire, the building was impacted by the explosion, and a significant amount of water was released inside the building from the sprinkler system. Fortunately, no UNBC personnel or students were on site and UNBC community members are safe. Some bystanders suffered serious injuries; the UNBC community sends positive thoughts to those who have been impacted. We also thank the emergency personnel who responded quickly and limited the damage to WIRL.

April 4, 2024 - Building repairs are nearing completion. The building remains closed for regular operations, but interior repairs are almost complete and the process of moving equipment back in has begun. We anticipate normal building occupancy by mid-April, although some research operations will be limited while we replace state-of-the-art equipment.


Wood Innovation Research Laboratory
1153 4th Ave
Prince George, British Columbia
V2L 3J2 Canada


WIRL Stories

  • Four people wearing white t-shirts crouch on floor around a small metal structure with a pulley system and weight hanging.
    Thursday, March 21, 2024

    To use a sports analogy, they gave it 110 per cent. Grade 11 and 12 students from across School District 57 were challenged to design a puck-launching device for the University of Northern... more

  • Dr. Jianbing Li in a suit and tie in front of the School of Engineering sign.
    Tuesday, November 7, 2023

    Prince George, B.C. – University of Northern British Columbia Engineering Professor Dr. Jianbing Li's groundbreaking research to advance the science of marine oil spill response and environmental... more

  • Two students in lab coats and safety glasses work in a lab. Two others in the background.
    Thursday, July 13, 2023

    Prince George, B.C. – The University of Northern British Columbia’s three Bachelor of Applied Science in Engineering programs reached a significant milestone, earning the maximum accreditation... more