Controlled Environmental Research Lab
The responsibilities of the Controlled Environmental Research Lab (CERL) encompass growth chamber labs, greenhouses, and research facilities owned by the Division of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources (DASNR) and the Oklahoma Agricultural Experiment Station (OAES). We are the mechanical maintenance arm of the Field and Research Unit. Employees are Oklahoma State licensed for HVAC equipment. Our main focus is to provide a safe, comfortable and clean environment for employees to conduct their research. We also oversee new construction in relation to the mechanical equipment and advise researchers on the purchase of new equipment in relation to building heat loads, refrigerants, electrical and plumbing requirements.
Size and Location
The CERL has several locations described below:
CERL Central, located on the OSU main campus on Farm Road, is the premier growth chamber facility. It consists of 16 large Conviron growth chambers (32 sq. ft. growth space) and 2 medium size Percival growth chambers (12 sq. ft. growth space). One of the large chambers and both medium growth chambers are capable of providing low temperatures to -10C lights off, -5C lights on. Other models provide temperature ranges from 4C to 45C. Large chambers generally provide 960 micromoles/m2/s lighting but the high intensity models can provide up to 1320 micromoles/m2/s. A full color spectrum of light is supplied by a combination of high intensity fluorescent bulbs and incandescent bulbs. Lights are programmable in 4 or 8 lighting levels to simulate natural dawn to dusk. All chambers feature ramping temperature control and will accept any number of programs. Several of the chambers have humidity control.
CERL Plant Pathology
This facility is located in the Noble Research Center, Room 114 on the main OSU campus. It consists of 6 medium size Conviron growth chambers (12 sq. ft. of growth space) and one large size Conviron growth chamber (36 sq. ft. of growth space). Temperature ranges are from 4C to 45C with humidity control. Lighting intensities are 950 micromoles/m2/s for the medium chambers and 960 micoromoles/m2/s for the large chamber. A full color spectrum of light is supplied by a combination of high intensity fluorescent bulbs and incandescent bulbs. Lights are programmable in 4 lighting levels to simulate natural dawn to dusk. All chambers feature ramping temperature control and will accept any number of programs.
CERL Plant Transformation
This facility is located in the Noble Research Center, Room 237 on main campus. It consists of 8 Percival growth chambers and one Conviron growth chamber. Three of the Percival growth chambers are medium size with temperature ranges from 15 to 40C. The additional Percival growth chambers and the one Conviron were manufactured for Arabidopsis research. They are the smaller “refrigerator” type with multiple shelves, temperature ranges from 10 to 40C and lighting up to 200 micromoles/m2/s.
CERL Greenhouse Locations
CERL staff maintains the following greenhouse facilities. Bench space is made available to the researchers according to their temperature needs and the ability of the research to co-exist.
Ridge Road North
This 4800 sq ft. facility is fully air conditioned and heated. It contains high intensity sodium and metal halide lighting over top of 258 square feet of bench space with long rolling benches that make plant work and watering easier. Although high utility costs make this our most expensive greenhouse, when exact temperature and lighting conditions are required, this greenhouse will meet the needs of critical research.
Ridge Road South
This 5300 square foot structure is our newest greenhouse facility. Designed with an eye towards energy and cost management, it features twin wall glazing and thermal blankets to save up to 60% in energy savings. It contains six individual cells of 648 sq ft each with rolling benches. Lighting fixtures will accept either high pressure sodium or metal halide bulbs.
Western Avenue Complex
There are 4 greenhouses managed by CERL off of Western Avenue, northwest of the main campus. Greenhouse 315 is a 2800 sq ft greenhouse with conventional heating and evaporative pad cooling, multiple stationary benches and sodium vapor lighting. Greenhouses 305, 307 and 308 are 1400 sq ft Nexus Vail greenhouses with conventional heating and evaporative pad cooling. They have stationary benches but no lighting.
Stillwater Agronomy Research Station
There are 12 greenhouses at this facility located west of main campus on Highway 51. There are two 2600 sq ft greenhouses, two 1700 sq ft greenhouses, one 1300 sq ft greenhouse, two 1200 sq ft greenhouse, four 1000 sq ft greenhouses and one 500 sq ft greenhouse. Some have floor plots for planting field crops, others have bench space. All have conventional heating and evaporative pad cooling and some contain HPS lighting.
Plant Pathology Farm
This facility contains two greenhouses of 1200 sq ft each. They have conventional heating and evaporative pad cooling and HPS lighting. Each greenhouse has stationary benches.
The 2000 sq ft east greenhouse is an insulated wall “soft-sider” with conventional heat and evaporative pad cooling. The 2000 sq ft west unit has conventional glazing and heat and evaporative pad cooling. Both units have stationary benches.
Noble Center Greenhouse Facility
The Noble Center Greenhouse Facility is the most technically advanced greenhouse of its kind. It has three bays which are designed specifically for BSL - 2 research. Designed and built by Controlled Environments Limited (Conviron), it features precise temperature control through the use of chill and hot water coils and a unique air distribution system. It uses a high pressure fog system for humidity control. This greenhouse also features an energy saving shade cloth system, Sodium and/or Metal Halide HID lighting and automatic irrigation. These systems are controlled by an Argus Greenhouse Controller which can be remotely accessed for program changes and troubleshooting.
CERL staff also maintains mechanical HVAC equipment at the following locations: Cimarron Valley Research Station, OSU Research Range, Stored Products Research and Education Center and the Oklahoma Botanical Gardens.
Val Joe Gladden