Commonwealth Terrace Cooperative
Minneapolis, MN 

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U of MN Housing Upgrades Boiler System:

Commonwealth Terrace Cooperative is a resident-directed management corporation with professional management and staff offering quality housing at affordable prices to University of Minnesota students and their families. Conveniently located close to the University of Minnesota, the resident community consists of 58 buildings totaling 464 apartments, a community center and a 22-acre sprawling park.

When the boiler system became outdated and ill-functioning in the resident buildings, the board decided to replace the existing equipment in each of the 16-boiler rooms with new high-efficiency condensing boilers sized at 100% of the heating requirements for increased efficiency. The new boilers were also outfitted with sequencing controls that enabled the boilers to capture part-loading efficiencies, providing further energy- and cost-savings for the residents.

Corval Group, a Minnesota-based mechanical contracting company, was hired to remove and replace the existing boilers and install new piping and venting to the new boilers. The project included underground water distribution piping from the boiler rooms to the buildings, and Corval Group chose to install an Ecoflex® pre-insulated dual thermal pipe system from Uponor. Ecoflex assemblies are equipped with a layered, closed-cell, polyethylene-foam insulation and HDPE corrugated outer jacket providing outstanding flexibility and durability.

Andy Pickar, Corval Group project manager, said the project presented a few challenges including laying down two 2" heating pipes, 1 ½" domestic water pipes and 1" hot water pipes – all in one trench. Unmarked utility lines added further complications to the task at hand, but all in all, 3,000 feet of Uponor pipe, both PEX-a® for plumbing and Ecoflex® for distribution heating, was installed without much incidence.

Though Pickar was familiar with Uponor’s products, his crew was trained on site and quickly learned that the products were easy to work with and helped speed up their installation time. “We received assistance on site by Uponor,” Pickar said, “and we relied on their expertise to train us so that we could move the installation along at a good pace.”

Pickar’s biggest take-away from this project was learning how well Uponor’s dual thermal pipes worked in this size and scope of project. Ecoflex is a sustainable solution for fluid transfer in hydronic heating and cooling systems. And with coil lengths up to 600’, Ecoflex virtually eliminates the need for underground joints, resulting in seamless runs of piping and quicker installation times.

Project Highlights:

• Mechanical Contractor: Corval Group, Minneapolis
• Uponor PEX-a Plumbing System
• Ecoflex Pre-insulated Pipe System from Uponor

Project Features:

• 1" and 1½" Uponor AquaPEX® Pipe
• ProPEX® Fittings
• Engineered Polymer (EP) Multiport Tees
• Ecoflex® Thermal Twin