When the Chenequa Fire Department in Chenequa, Wis., decided in 1999 to install a new heating system, their first choice was a traditional gas fired unit heater. However, a technology-savvy village board member had a better idea. Given the unique environmental and structural challenges associated with the installation, he suggested that the best solution was clearly a radiant heating system.
Under the watchful eye of this close-knit, upscale community of 600 residents, the village board knew that extensive design guidance and technical recommendations would be required to help bring this unique project to fruition. Therefore, with the primary goals of energy efficiency, comfort, and safety, in and around the publicly supported firehouse, the board called upon the proven leaders in the industry – the team of REHAU and Rundle-Spence Manufacturing Company.
“This particular project had a variety of structural and environmental challenges involving both the firehouse’s interior and exterior,” explained Andrew Csoke, REHAU regional unit manager. First, the firehouse’s traditional heating system allowed warm air to rise above the ground level of the firehouse where the heat was needed most. Additionally, the firehouse faces the challenge of having a hill location, and a steep driveway, which can be hazardous when ice forms during Wisconsin’s notoriously cold winter months. The firehouse’s close proximity to a major intersection also is a hazard REHAU had to consider when evaluating the facility.
Research conducted by Rundle-Spence manufacturing Company (a leading full-service plumbing, heating, and industrial supply distributor and fabrication shop) indicated that the best interior option would be a REHAU radiant floor heating system, in conjunction with an exterior snow and ice melting (SIM) system. In fact, the RFH system could only provide not only better overall heating of the firehouse, but also a quick method for melting snow off of the fire trucks.
Radiant Heating System
REHAU’s radiant heating system was the natural recommendation to meet the firehouse’s interior requirements for increased energy efficiency and enhanced comfort levels. In fact, not only could the radiant system provide better overall heating of the firehouse, but it also provided a quick method for melting snow off of the fire trucks.
Chenequa’s radiant heating system works by circulating heated fluid through 3,000 ft. of RAUPEX O2 Barrier crosslinked polyethylene (PEXa) pipe installed under the firehouse floor. Heated water travels through the system producing steady, even heat without drafts, while providing maximum comfort. According to Csoke, “Now, after a run, the firefighters can pull the trucks in and just let them sit. In no time at all, the ice and snow melt off. Plus, they can their lay hoses out on the ground and come back to find them dry as a bone — much, much quicker than ever before.”
Snow and Ice Melting System
The exterior conditions at the firehouse required a much different approach. REHAU’s hydronic snow and ice melting system was selected because it is designed to quickly and efficiently remove snow and ice from vehicle and pedestrian pathways, such as the sloping drive in front of the firehouse.
The complete Chenequa SIM system comprises 1,000 ft. of RAUPEX pipe, EVERLOC fittings, PRO-BALANCE manifolds with gauges and an automated control system. A heated antifreeze solution circulates throughout the RAUPEX pipe installed underneath the exterior concrete slab. The SIM system minimizes snow removal and related costs, as well as the need to apply salt or other melting agents that can be damaging to other surfaces.
“The SIM system now allows our firefighters to focus on what they do best – saving lives – and not worrying about a truck sliding into the intersection or a pedestrian slipping and falling outside the building,” explained Jeff Kante, Fire Chief.
“The project as a whole was definitely a structural and environmental challenge with a sizeable human element,” explained Csoke. Together with Rundle-Spence, REHAU was able to isolate the unique challenges at Chenequa and develop a heating solution to meet their needs. In the end, REHAU was able to provide the village of Chenequa with the latest technology available in the heating industry, together with an energy-efficient, comfortable and safe firehouse.
|Chenequa Fire Department|
|Scope of Project||3,000 ft of RAUPEX pipe for radiant heating; 1,000 ft of RAUPEX pipe for snow and ice melt|
|Distributor||Rundle-Spence Manufacturing Company|
|REHAU Systems Used||Radiant heating and snow and ice melting (RAUPEX® pipe, EVERLOC® fittings, PRO-BALANCE® manifolds)|