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Municipal Building
Uses Single Pipe Hydronic System
A municipal building in Oregon is full of green features, including an energyefficient single pipe heating system.
recently completed municipal office building in Oregon was designed and built to the U.S. Green Building Councils Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) silver standard and relies on an energy-efficient LoadMatch single pipe heating system supplied by Taco Inc. The Clackamas County Public Services Building, which opened in Aug. 2004, is full of green features, specifically selected by the architectural firm that handled the project, Group MacKenzie. Because energy conservation is an important criteria under LEED certification, Clackamas County and the buildings property management group, Johnson Controls, selected a single pipe heating system for the buildings heating, opting to go with wet rotor circulators rather than control valves. The Clackamas County building is located in Oregon City in Northwest Oregon. The building houses various government departments. Because a previous bond referendum to finance construction of the building was turned down by the voters, the county entered into a 20-year contract with Johnson Controls Performance Contracting Division, which then oversaw the buildings design and construction and now leases the building back to the county. Building maintenance and energy systems are maintained by Johnson Controls. Specifying USGBC-recommended building components and energy-saving features does add additional up-front costs to a building. Costs savings come afterwards in the form of energy savings over the life of the building. In the case of the Clackamas County building, energy saving returns should begin to add up in about a decades time, according to county estimates. Energy savings will account for most of the savingsabout $64,000 in the first year of occupancy alone, in comparison to the costs associated with the buildings the county offices were formerly housed in. The key to approving the single pipe hydronic system was its lower cost to install and its projected energy savings, according to Johnson Controls. Because the building was designed to be a LEED-certified building, every decision about components and

systems was weighed in terms of environmental impact and energy conservation potential. The single pipe system was estimated to save up to 30% of building HVAC system life cycle costs due to reduced installation costs, less materials needed (pipe and valves), reduced operating costs and maintenance needs. Based on a system design recommended by Taco, the installed single pipe system consists of 70 zones, with one circulator and one Twin Tee per zone. In addition, all of the coil piping and the circulators were prefabricated to allow minimum installation time. All heating coils in the buildings spaces employ circulators with integral flow checks (IFCs), which eliminate the need for additional check valves in each unit. The system is also self-balancing; there are no balancing valves in any of the individual units because the circulators have been sized to provide the appropriate flow and head. With the elimination of both balancing and control valves, the head loss in the system is lower and the installed pump horsepower is also lower. As a result, the energy consumption of the pumping system is reduced. The larger fan coilsused for supplemental heatuse multiple small circulators in parallel so they can be staged to match the variable air volume across the coils. Design team members Glumac International, mechanical engineering firm for the project, and Temp Control Mechanical, the installing contractor, were both familiar with the single pipe heating system concept and wanted to employ it in a project application. Although the building manager was initially hesitant about using pumps instead of control valves, they became convinced that the single pipe system was the best option for the building. This article was provided by Taco, Inc., 1160 Cranston St., Cranston, RI 02920, (401) 942-8000. Visit for more information onLoadMatch single pipe heating systems and green building design.

54 PMEngineer

February 2005