Uponor Wirsbo hePEX Tubing Used in Award Winning Pier 15 Project

Uponor Wirsbo hePEX Tubing Used in Award Winning Pier 15 Project

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 Plastics Pipe Institute (PPI), a manufacturing-based trade association, recently named the Pier 15 Exploratorium as their 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 Pier 15 Exploratorium renovation project used 200,000 feet of Wirsbo hePEX™ crosslinked polyethylene (PEX-a) tubing for the radiant heating and cooling system. One of the many benefits of flexible PEX is its ability to bend around existing structural components to incorporate the radiant system with the least amount of disruption to the structure. Photo courtesy Uponor.

The project, designed by EHDD Architecture of San Francisco and engineered by Integral Group of Oakland, renovated a century-old building on San Francisco’s Pier 15 into the largest net-zero energy and net-zero carbon museum in the US. The 330,000 sq.ft., LEED-Gold structure is projected to be 57% 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 Company of Livermore, radiant system installer ACCO Engineered Systems of San Leandro, and general contractor Nibbi Brothers of San Francisco, the team was able to substantially reduce installation time with the use of Uponor’s Radiant Rollout Mats on approximately 80% of the floor surface. The custom-designed mats are prefabricated to project specifications at Uponor’s factory in Apple Valley, Minn.

Scope of the project is evident in this photo of Pier 15. The Uponor Radiant Heating and Cooling System in the Pier 15 Exploratorium uses the San Francisco Bay as a heat sink/heat source. Photo courtesy Uponor.

“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% 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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