- San Francisco’s new California Academy of Sciences (CAS) combines a state-of-the-art planetarium and a natural science museum in a single, 410,000-square-foot structure.
- A Platinum LEED project, CAS features PEX-based radiant technology on 38,000 square feet of exhibit area on the main floor to heat and cool that space cost effectively.
- Engineered by Arup & Partners and installed by O’Brien Mechanical, the radiant system consists of 100,000 linear feet of Uponor Wirsbo hePEX™ plus tubing, connected to six, 2-million BTU boilers and three, 4-ton chillers.
Nestled within San Francisco’s lush Golden Gate Park and featuring an undulating roof planted with vegetation native to the region, the newly rebuilt California Academy of Sciences is a paragon of efficient, sustainable design. A key aspect of this commitment to green values is an Uponor radiant floor heating and cooling system that provides energy-efficient comfort to much of the main exhibition level.
“What makes this building so special is its long life cycle – at least 50 years,” says project engineer Paul Switenki of Arup Partners of California. “Given that longevity, we were motivated to choose systems that may be more costly initially, but that will pay for themselves with energy savings over time. We know from experience at Arup that radiant is a very energy-efficient way of heating and cooling the space.”
The Academy’s main level is a “bare-box, high-ceiling space with exterior walls made of glass,” says Switenki. That makes it an ideal application for radiant, which keeps the heating (or cooling) near the floor where the people are, not blowing around the ceiling, as with a conventional forced-air system. Radiant offered another advantage over forced-air: invisibility, says Switenki. “We had a mandate – no ductwork hanging from the ceilings! With all of the radiant tubing buried in the slab, no one ever sees it.”
Helps Sustain Green Values
Use of radiant floor heating and cooling enables CAS to maximize the comfort of its occupants and visitors in an energy-efficient manner that fulfills the building designers’ commitment to environmentally responsible construction.
Energy Savings to Pay for System Over Time
Meets Both Heating and Cooling Needs
Quiet and Invisible: No Exposed Ductwork
||410,000 square feet under roof|
||Wirsbo hePEX Plus (5/8˝)|
|Feet of tubing:
||100,000 feet covering 38,000 square feet of floor area, buried in a four-inch concrete slab.|
||ProPEX Fitting System|