- San Francisco’s new California Academy of Sciences (CAS) is a 410,000-square-foot structure that combines a state-of-the-art planetarium, an aquarium and a natural history museum all under one roof.
- A Platinum-LEED project, CAS features an Uponor radiant heating and cooling system to meet the Academy’s stated mission of inspiring visitors to conserve natural resources and help sustain the diversity of life on Earth.
- Engineered by Arup & Partners and installed by O’Brien Mechanical, the radiant system consists of 100,000 linear feet of Uponor hePEX™ plus tubing.
Slated to open in October 2008, the California Academy of Sciences is already garnering awards for sustainable design, including the Environmental Protection Agency’s regional 2006 Environmental Award and the silver Holcim Award for Sustainable Construction.
A key aspect of the project’s commitment to sustainable values is the Uponor radiant floor heating and cooling system that provides energy-efficient comfort to 38,000 square feet of the main exhibition level.
Engineered by the San Francisco office of Arup and installed by O’Brien Mechanical, also of San Francisco, this radiant system is currently one of the largest in North America.
“What makes this building so special is its long life cycle — at least 50 years,” says Paul Switenki, project engineer, Arup. “Given that longevity, we were motivated to choose systems 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 radiant system included of 100,000 linear feet of Uponor hePEX™ plus tubing.
Meeting the Academy’s Mission
The Academy’s main exhibit area is a “bare-box, high-ceiling space with well-shaded glass exterior walls,” says Switenki. That, along with San Francisco’s mild climate, makes it an ideal application for radiant, which keeps the heating (or cooling) near the floor — where museum visitors and personnel are situated — not blowing around near the ceiling, as with a conventional forced-air system.
Radiant offered another major 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.”
Benefits to the California Academy of Sciences
Incorporating radiant floor heating and cooling into the structure helped the Academy garner awards for sustainable design.
||410,000 square feet |
||5/8" hePEX™ plus|
|Amount of Tubing
||100,000 linear feet|