Centennial Research Facility

Centennial Research Facility Observation Windows
Centennial Research Facility Observation Windows
Centennial Research Facility Entrance
Centennial Research Facility Entrance
Centennial Research Facility Testing Space
Centennial Research Facility Testing Space
Centennial Research Facility Labratory
Centennial Research Facility Labratory
Centennial Research Facility Aerial View
Centennial Research Facility Aerial View
U.S. Forest Service
University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, Wisconsin, USA

Over the past 100 years, the work performed in a little known laboratory has probably touched your life. If you live in a home built with wood-frame construction or if you have a deck made of durable wood composites or if you just drive across railroad tracks, you've encountered the work of the Forest Products Laboratory.

On June 23, 2010, the U.S. Forest Service opened a new $47 million, 87,000-square-foot laboratory located on the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus. It replaces aging facilities and provides state-of-the-art accommodations to continue a tradition of groundbreaking research.

The new Forest Products Laboratory is known as the Centennial Research Facility to honor the 100-year anniversary of the opening of the original lab in June 1910. The sleek, modern building was designed to co-locate four specialized laboratories to maximize flexibility and research synergies while serving as a real-world laboratory, with the exterior designed to accommodate interchangeable panels of new products undergoing tests for exposure to outdoor environments.

Each interior lab space was engineered to accommodate state-of-the-art test capabilities and equipment, from a weatherization chamber that mimics real world conditions to heavy-load cranes to strength test new products. From extreme temperature exposure to nanotechnologies to evaluate use of woody biomass in sustainable energy production, the building components and engineering design of the new laboratory position it to continue research into cost-effective, sustainable substitutes for non-renewable materials and best use of existing forest resources.

Additional sustainable construction elements include: building on an existing parking lot to save greenspace; a cool roof to reduce the heat island effect; a detention pond for site rainwater; low flow water fixtures and motion sensor lights; interior finish materials with a high recycled content, and low volatile-organic-content paint and adhesives; at least 20 percent of building materials manufactured within 500 miles of the project; and 75 percent of non-hazardous construction debris was recycled.

This quietly efficient laboratory has played a key role in hundreds of examples of wood-related innovations. This new combined research facility will facilitate maximum collaboration between scientists and outside partners while providing opportunities for visitors to observe and learn about ongoing research activities.