Wolf Ridge Environmental Learning Center
Finland MN

Wolf Ridge Environmental Learning Center

Wolf Ridge Environmental Learning Center in Finland, Minn., is a nationally accredited K-12 school and residential learning center for outdoor learning adventures. Wolf Ridge offers activities and programs that focus on natural and cultural history, outdoor skills, team-building and personal growth.

For a campus like Wolf Ridge, district heat is the ideal method for providing heat to all the buildings, so they decided to try a fiberglass carrier pipe for their first district heating installation. The fiberglass carrier pipe was installed in an open trench that was later filled with foam and buried. Although the system worked fine the first year, the heat loss got exponentially worse year after year due to the breakdown of the unprotected insulation.

Ecoflex: Proven the Superior Choice

When it came time to install the district heating system for the facility’s dorm rooms, Wolf Ridge decided to try an alternative pipe system to see if they could get better results. And they did.

Because Ecoflex features a durable, corrugated, high-density polyethylene (HDPE) jacket covering the insulation and service pipe, the system remained energy-efficient and intact. The comparable energy savings between the Ecoflex installation and the fiberglass installation proved Ecoflex was the superior choice.

In the fall of 2009, Wolf Ridge was ready to install the district heating system for their main office and dining hall, and Ecoflex was hands down the product they chose for fast installation and consistent energy efficiency. The natural wooded terrain and shallow bedrock made Ecoflex the ideal product to use for the entire installation since flexible Ecoflex could snake around objects and didn't need a separate connection with each change of direction. Additionally, because the pipe was already pre-insulated, it eliminated the extra step of insulating after pipe installation.

Project Highlights

• K-12 school and learning center in Finland, Minn.
• 1,020 feet of Ecoflex for district heating application
• Ecoflex proven superior compared to previous pipe
• Improved heat transfer performance by 34%
• Corrugated HDPE jacket; no breakdown of insulation
• Flexible pipe ideal option for wooded terrain/shallow bedrock

Project Data

• 600 feet of 3" Ecoflex Thermal Single
• 420 feet of 2" Ecoflex Thermal Twin