The Union at Dearborn
Dearborn, MI 

The Union at Dearborn

A new student housing project, located at the center of the bustling University of Michigan-Dearborn campus, offers students 231,000 square feet of updated living space, including one-, two- and three-bedroom units, gathering areas, meeting rooms, a theatre and group study halls. Managed by Asset Campus Housing, the new $30 million project is designed to be environmentally responsible and includes a hydronic distribution system from Uponor.

Systems Solution Consultants, based in Detroit, is the engineering company who designed the project, and they initially specified steel mains and crosslinked polyethylene (PEX) branches for the hydronic distribution piping. However, after meeting with Uponor’s rep firm HS/Buy Van Associates in Auburn Hills and the installing contractor, Page’s Neighborhood Plumbing, they approved the change to include Wirsbo hePEX™ for the entire hydronic distribution system (chilled water/heating hot water) to serve approximately 625 ductless fan coil units in 136 apartments.

George Page, owner of Page’s Neighborhood Plumbing of Sterling Heights, was familiar with Uponor’s PEX-a piping for plumbing, but he had not yet completed a chilled and hot water hydronic piping system using PEX prior to this installation. He found that the process was much the same, and his crew quickly felt comfortable with the installation.

“One of the many reasons I am loyal to Uponor is the expander tools,” Page said. “It would have been impossible to use competitive PEX products in this job due to the limited space for the application.” The steel mains were installed with 4" and 6" piping with Wirsbo hePEX branches varying in sizes from 1½" down to ½".

Though Page’s Neighborhood Plumbing installs various plumbing systems, including copper and CPVC depending on how projects are specified by engineers, George Page prefers working with PEX-a and Uponor. “I personally think that an oxygen-barrier system holds up better over time,” he said. “And with the larger-diameter piping available, I really am starting to see copper as old school.”

George Page, who has been installing plumbing systems for 30 years, has a stringent quality control system and says that Wirsbo hePEX meets and exceeds his standards for installing a large system. “The process used for expanding the tubing is one of the best on the market today,” he said. And with a project like the Union at Dearborn that required 7,000 feet of large-diameter and 20,000 feet of smaller-diameter tubing, the system proved to be cost-effective, productive and easy to install. “I’m very comfortable with the final results, and I will use Wirsbo hePEX on any future hydronic piping projects,” Page said.

Project Highlights:

• Contractor: Page’s Neighborhood Plumbing, Sterling Heights, MI
• 231,000 square feet of living space on U of MI Dearborn campus
• Uponor Hydronic Distribution System

Project Features:

• 7,000 feet of 1½" Wirsbo hePEX™ Pipe
• 20,000 feet of 1¼" to ½" Wirsbo hePEX Pipe
• ProPEX® Fittings