Denver Zoo Asian Tropics Complex

REHAU Radiant Heating and Snow and Ice Melting Systems Provide Comfort for Visitors and Animals at New Denver Zoo Asian Tropics Complex

Occupying 10 acres, the Denver Zoo’s new $50 million Asian Tropics complex will allow visitors to explore the rich history of animals in Asian culture. Designed to provide an appealing environment for the animals, the complex also features numerous aspects of sustainable design, including 900,000 gallons of recycled water and a biomass gasification system that will convert more than 90 percent of the zoo’s waste into usable onsite energy.

To distribute a significant amount of energy from a supplemental system of four gas-fired, 500,000 BTUH condensing boilers, mechanical contractor Heating & Plumbing Engineers Inc. specified nearly 3,000 feet of large-diameter REHAU INSULPEX pre-insulated energy transfer pipe. The 5-in. (125 mm) INSULPEX was installed using REHAU FUSAPEX, an innovative new electrically fused fitting system.

“The flexible nature of INSULPEX, particularly when compared with alternative materials like insulated copper and steel, was a necessity when working around the zoo’s existing utilities,” said Porter May of Heating & Plumbing Engineers. “A rigid piping system would just not have been an option, given the gains and losses of elevation, as well as the severe angles to which the underground piping needed to conform.”

In the Asian Tropics complex, INSULPEX pipe serves as a supply to REHAU RAUPEX radiant heating and snow and ice melting systems installed throughout the exhibit. Nearly 15,000 feet of1/2 in. RAUPEX O2 barrier pipe was used for the radiant systems in the rhino and elephant holding buildings, which will provide a warm, familiar climate for the animals during the Colorado winter season.

More than 13,000 feet of 5/8 in. RAUPEX O2 barrier pipe was also used for the snow and ice melting systems installed in all pedestrian walkways, bridges and exhibit entryways, as well as in the complex’s facilities management dock area, to provide a safe, clear path for visitors and zoo employees during snowy months.

ProjectDenver Zoo Asian Tropics Complex, Denver, CO

Zoo exhibit, completion planned 2012

Scope of Project

10-acre complex; 3,000 ft (915 m) of INSULPEX

pipe; 28,000 ft (8,534 m) of RAUPEX pipe.

Architectclr Design
EngineerRMH Group, Inc.
Mechanical Contractor

Heating & Plumbing Engineers, Inc.

Systems UsedEnergy transfer piping (INSULPEX® pipe, FUSAPEX fittings) radiant heating and snow and ice melting systems (RAUPEX® pipe, PRO-BALANCE® manifolds, EVERLOC® fittings)

Type of ProjectCommercial
CustomerDenver Zoo
REHAU SystemRAUPEX radiant heating and snow and ice melting systems; INSULPEX energy transfer pipe
Radiant Heating and Cooling Technology
Snow & Ice Melting