Recently, the Plastics Pipe Institute (PPI), a manufacturing-based trade association, announced the Pier 15 Exploratorium as its Project of the Year in the Building/Construction division. The award-winning project showcases 200,000 feet of Uponor North America’s Wirsbo hePEX crosslinked polyethylene (PEX-a) tubing for the unique radiant heating and cooling system that uses the San Francisco Bay as a heat sink/heat source.
The project, designed by EHDD Architecture, San Francisco, and engineered by Integral Group, Oakland, Calif., renovated a century-old building on San Francisco’s Pier 15 into the largest net-zero energy and net-zero carbon museum in the U.S. The 330,000-square-foot, LEED Gold structure is projected to be 57 percent more efficient than the ASHRAE 90.1 energy standard requires, thanks in part to the Uponor radiant heating and cooling system.
“We are very proud to receive this recognition by our peers in the plastics pipe industry,” says Bill Gray, president, Uponor North America. “The Pier 15 Exploratorium is an excellent example of the benefits of flexible plastic pipe and how it can transform a historic building into an impressively sustainable project.”
Working in conjunction with manufacturer’s representative Osborne Co., Livermore, Calif., radiant system installer ACCO Engineered Systems, San Leandro, Calif., and general contractor Nibbi Brothers, San Francisco, the team was able to substantially reduce installation time with the use of Uponor’s Radiant Rollout Mats on approximately 80 percent of the floor surface. The custom-designed mats are prefabricated to project specifications at Uponor’s factory in Apple Valley, Minn.
“The mats feature pre-pressurized rolls of PEX-a tubing loops fitted with Uponor ProPEX engineered polymer (EP) fittings, which are safe for burial in the slab,” says Him Ly, senior design engineer of Technical Services at Uponor. “Once on the job site, the mats roll out like carpeting over the floor space, providing approximately 85 percent faster installs compared to conventional radiant tubing methods.”
According to Kate Olinger, product manager of Plumbing at Uponor and member of the PPI organization, the Pier 15 project showcases the importance of plastic pipe in two ways. It shows how flexible PEX can work around existing structural components to renew an old building into a high-performance structure that showcases best-practices for sustainable design. Additionally, it also provides another educational tool for the Exploratorium where more than one million visitors annually will learn about the energy-efficiency of PEX-based radiant heating and cooling systems.
This is the second time Uponor has won the PPI Project of the Year. In 2010, the Wormley Row restoration project featuring Uponor’s radiant floor heating system won Project of the Year in the Heating and Cooling category.
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