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“There isn’t any better heat than radiant heat. When customers visit on a cold Wisconsin day, which we have many of, they’ll come in across the stone floor that’s continually heated from below. Heat will gently radiate upward, lending a feeling of warmth, comfort and hominess.”

-- Robert Ripley, Carved Stone Creations

Carved Stone Creations | Kaukauna, WI

Radiant heating system helps create magical, calming atmosphere

As customers approach the grounds of Carved Stone Creations, factory-direct importers of custom-carved granite, marble and slate products, they are greeted by polished arches, 18 ft (5 m) granite columns topped with capitals and enormous lion head fountains above water pools. Operating under the belief that nothing is impossible, Carved Stone Creations presents a castle-like showroom that pleases all the senses.

According to Robert Ripley, president, “We want people to come in and be blown away by what they see. You could have imagined something like this, but now we’ve made it reality. When people walk into our showroom, we want to excite them and let them see all the different options they could incorporate into their setting.”

Several items available for interior or exterior applications include countertops, sinks, hand-carved fountains and statuary, fireplaces, columns, and staircases. Ripley, who also owns Ripley Realty Development and Construction, Inc., says nothing was spared in this 10,500 ft2 facility, which was designed according to the Chinese art of feng shui. The intent is to assist customers who seek to create comfortable environments that support and nurture their needs, while providing a greater sense of overall balance, harmony and contentment.

Some could have perceived the flooring—a combination of slate, marble and granite—as a cold material. To solve this problem, Ripley chose to install a REHAU radiant heating system.

“There isn’t any better heat than radiant heat,” explained Ripley. “When customers visit on a cold Wisconsin day, which we have many of, they’ll come in across the stone floor that’s continually heated from below. Heat will gently radiate upward, lending a feeling of warmth, comfort and hominess.”

Ripley knew that a forced-air heating system would blow heated air around the building, causing drafts and sharp temperature swings. As a self-contained system, REHAU’s radiant heating allows uniform heat without sacrificing comfort. It operates efficiently, quietly and cleanly; there are no noisy fans and no blown air to distribute dust, pollen or other allergens. The environment remains draft free even as customers open and close the doors. In addition, the stone objects in the showroom provide the advantage of retaining and giving off heat.

Flexibility was another key attribute for Ripley. The system is invisible, with no bulky appliances, registers or ventilation ducts to distract from the showroom’s beauty.

One of Carved Stone Creations’ offerings is a 1,500-pound bathtub, carved out of a large stone and warm to the touch—thanks to the REHAU radiant heating system. “We tell everybody to put plenty of radiant heat right beneath the floor where the tub is cemented down, so heat will radiate up through,” said Ripley.

According to Corey Hasenjager, radiant designer for Temperature Systems Incorporated (TSI), REHAU was chosen for this job based on their long-standing reputation. “REHAU has a very high quality line of products, from their PEXa pipe to their manifolds and fittings. REHAU offers dependable technical support by a friendly, professionally-trained staff that stands behind their product and makes any job possible.”

Dave Crevcoure, contractor for Air Tech, agrees. “We used REHAU for this project because of proven reliability, availability and ease of installation. RAUPEX is extremely durable and flexible, as it bends effortlessly around corners.”

Hasenjager utilized REHAU radiant software to calculate water temperature and flow rates for the system, which consists of four zones—one for each of the facility’s main areas. These include the showroom, warehouse and two office areas on separate floors. Using this system, water flow can be precisely controlled to all portions of the application, thus regulating the amount of heat in each area.

The system’s main heat source is a two-stage, 400,000 BTU Lochinvar boiler, which offers 84% thermal efficiency. A Tekmar injection control with reset capability handles low temperature mixing, allowing the system to be more comfortable and energy efficient.

More than 10,000 ft of REHAU’s RAUPEX O2 Barrier (oxygen diffusion barrier) cross-linked polyethylene piping was laid out in a standard serpentine design.

For the 2,500 ft2, two-story showroom with open ceilings, nine 300 ft loops of 5/8 in. RAUPEX pipe was installed 12 inches on center and stapled to 2 in. Styrofoam. A six-inch concrete slab with one-inch edge insulation soon followed.

The 5,000 ft2, two-story warehouse, also with open ceilings, was zoned separately so that the temperature could be kept lower than in the showroom. Nine 460 ft loops of 3/4 in. RAUPEX pipe were installed 15 inches on-center. In addition, the separate zoning allows Ripley flexibility for future expansion plans, as he will likely turn the warehouse into more showroom space within two years. He will be able to move walls and change spaces without affecting the heating design or having to move ductwork.

The offices, which together comprise 3,000 ft2 of space on the first and second floors, each required six 300 ft loops of 1/2 in. RAUPEX pipe, installed 12 inches on-center with the first three feet along the perimeter being installed at 8 inches on-center. The first floor was an in-slab installation. The pipe on the second floor was nylon wire tied to rebar, which was laid down on the precast concrete deck. The pipe and rebar were then covered with two inches of fiber mesh concrete.

The system design employed one PRO-BALANCE manifold and zoning pump in each of the four zones. According to Hasenjager, the PRO-BALANCE manifolds are truly the way to go. “REHAU’s manifolds feature easy-to-read flow gauges and adjustable flow controls, allowing for easy purging, set up and evaluation of the system. You can readily view the gpm and know how a system is performing, which can save both time and money when servicing a radiant system.”

As Ripley’s business continues to grow, he is even more eager for spring, when he will be able to open the doors on his new custom-designed stone studio. In addition to helping his customers relax and imagine, Ripley’s choice of a radiant heating system best showcases his products—even as it lowers operating costs and delivers improved efficiency.

Project:Carved Stone Creations, Kaukauna, WI
Type of construction: Commercial, retail showroom
Scope of project:10,000 ft (3,050 m) of RAUPEX pipe
Owner:Robert Ripley
Designer:Temperature Systems Incorporated
Contractor:Air Tech
REHAU systems used: Radiant heating, snow and ice melting, RAUPEX® pipe, compression-sleeve fitting system, PRO-BALANCE® manifolds

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