In January 2009, a supercentre retail chain opened its first environmental demonstration store. The new concept store uses about 60% less energy than the company’s typical supercentre store and reduces carbon emissions by an estimated 141 tons (metric tons).
One of the key components to the supercentre’s sustainable green building practices was the use of radiant cooling rollout mats, which allowed fast, efficient installation of crosslinked polyethylene or PEX-a tubing for radiant cooling solutions, and offers several benefits over standard high-density polyethylene (HDPE) mat systems and other installation methods.
In this post, we will use this case study to illustrate why architects and engineers need to use rollout mats in their projects.
1. Installing Radiant Cooling Rollout Mats is 8 Times Faster
Rollout mats can be installed nearly 8 times faster than the conventional installation method. At the supercenter six contractors we able to install roughly 35 000 square feet of radiant cooling piping with the use of the mats. In contrast, only 4 500 square feet can be installed using the conventional method.
2. Significant Labor Savings
Since the installation of the radiant mats is so efficient, there is also a significant labor saving. A 70 000 square foot installation would normally take 2 weeks but with the use of mats the installation is reduced to two days. This helps save time and in return reduces labor costs.
3. Helps Meet Tight Commercial Schedules
On any big commercial project, time is a crucial factor. By using the radiant rollout mat, the supercentre stayed on schedule and opened on time. “The rollout mat does a great job; really speeds up the install,” says Michael Hobson, section chief – mechanical at Nelco Mechanical Ltd., the mechanical contractor on the project. “This is going to open up whole new commercial markets for us to compete in. Normally, the commercial timeline is very tight, but the mat allows us to work within that aggressive schedule.”
4. Onsite Customization
One large advantage of the rollout mat over HDPE mat systems is the ability to perform onsite customizations. The design of the radiant mat allows quick and efficient modifications simply by using engineered plastic (EP) couplings. “The rollout mat is flexible and easy to repair or make length changes on site,” says Scott MacDonald, foreman at Nelco Mechanical Ltd. “Using HDPE would have been much more difficult.”
5. EP Fittings Under Slab
Durable EP fittings can be buried in the slab; something other manufacturers’ fittings simply cannot do.
6. Faster Connection Method
Unlike HDPE fusion-weld fittings, PEX connections are made quickly, safely and efficiently without the need for heat, torches, cutting equipment or fusion welding equipment. The PEX fitting system simply requires one tool and takes advantage of the PEX-a tubing’s unique shape memory to make solid connections.
7. Consistent Performance Results
A radiant cooling system that uses rollout mats easily meets performance requirements. When the radiant heating and cooling system was ready to start up at the supercentre, the mats gave consistent performance results. “The performance of the radiant rollout mat system was right on target,” says Nuno Duarte, P. Eng., project engineer at Stantec, the engineering firm on the project. “After commissioning, the system’s flow rates, pressures and heat exchange were performing to specs.”
8. Installer Safety
Installers appreciated how easy, comfortable and pain-free the rollout mat is to install. With HDPE, heavy equipment can become cumbersome. “With HDPE, the equipment has to be lugged around, and working in the trench was difficult due to issues with power to the equipment,” says MacDonald. “Also, no one had to get on their hands and knees, so there were no issues with back pain and no one was injured.”
It is clear that using rollout mats when installing the radiant cooling system on your next project will significantly reduce time and cost. It is an extremely effective way to keep a project on track, under budget and still meet the project’s sustainability targets.