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Sustainable Cooling Solution for a Residential Project: Sought and Found!

30. August 2022 | 4 min read

Every year, the reports of summer weather extremes reach new levels. Higher temperatures accompanied by longer heat waves have become an unpleasant reality as a result of climate change. Added to this are sharply increasing energy prices. Yet, how is a living room to be kept comfortably cool in the summer without putting too much stress on the environment or the bank account? In the case of a new apartment complex in Donaustadt, Vienna, the answer is obvious: both cooling and heating will be supplied through concrete core activation, implemented with pipes from Pipelife.

A visualization of the new apartment building complex in Donaustadt | Pipelife © Vero Digital

On hot summer days, it is not always easy to keep a cool head. For the future residents of the apartment complex currently under construction in Donaustadt this will not be an issue. The client Invester and the installation company ICS GmbH commissioned by the construction company Swietelsky are relying on an efficient solution: by using concrete core activation, 153 apartment units will not only be heated during the cold season but also cooled in summer — implemented with high-quality pipe systems from Pipelife. Marc Pampusch, field service supervisor for Pipelife, and application engineer Franz Pfleger have been involved from the planning stage to project implementation.

In order to keep the living spaces at the right temperature with concrete core activation, the pipes are laid and encased in raw concrete floors at close intervals. The concrete serves as a storage medium, and the entire building mass is used for heating and/or cooling.

The visualization of the new apartment complex in Donaustadt | Pipelife © Vero Digital

Planning Services Put to Good Use

Detailed and precise planning ahead of time that includes an exact calculation of the required materials is critical to a successful implementation of concrete core activation. To do so, ICS GmbH relied not only on the detailed advice from Marc Pampusch but also on the planning services of Pipelife’s Building Technology department. Together with Franz Pfleger, the optimum number of circuits per room, the manifold size, and the pipe spacing were defined.

Murat Celick, managing director of ICS GmbH, reports: “I was happy to make use of Pipelife’s planning services for the concrete core activation. Especially for large projects like the new apartment complex, it is good to work together with experienced technicians to flesh out the ideal solution for the project. We have worked together on large projects in the past as well. I really value the personal contact and the good cooperation.”

Underfloor heating pipes being installed in the new residential complex in Donaustadt | Pipelife

Resilient Pipes for Durable Heating and Cooling Solutions

In order to stay abreast of the installation requirements, selecting the right raw materials for the concrete core activation is key.

“Especially for large-scale use, the pipe quality and durability are important selection criteria. For this reason, I gladly rely on Pipelife pipes, which have already proven themselves in many projects,” explains Celik.

For the project in Donaustadt, high-quality FT-R17L4 pipes from the Floortherm line are being used. The five-layer plastic pipe is designed for surface systems that provide both heating and cooling, and it is comfortable and easy to work with thanks to the PE-RT material. The linear meters involved in this project are very impressive.

In the first building section, 5,000 m² totaling 33,000 linear meters of pipe were installed in 84 apartments. In the second building section, 26,000 linear meters of the multi-layer composite piping are used to supply 3,900 m² in 69 apartments. Each apartment unit is also equipped with a high-quality stainless-steel distributor, depending on the defined number of circuits.

Laying the pipes is done continuously as construction of the apartment complex progresses; the premises should be ready for occupancy by the end of 2023.

The construction works are being carried out in the residential complex in Donaustadt | Pipelife
Underfloor heating pipes being installed in the new residential complex in Donaustadt | Pipelife

Increasingly in Demand: Sustainable Cooling Solutions

As with the saying “all roads lead to Rome”, there are a variety of ways to cool buildings. But not every cooling solution also meets the demands of energy efficiency and sustainability.

What makes concrete core activation so energy-saving and highly efficient? When used, the pipes are laid and encased in concrete with a spacing of 10 to 30 cm between them. The concrete is used as a storage medium and balances out fluctuations in outdoor temperature; therefore, even small indoor temperature adjustments make a perceptible difference.

Another advantage of thermo-active building systems is that they can be combined with alternative energy sources. The new apartment complex is highly sustainable because a large-scale photovoltaic system in combination with the concrete core activation makes it possible to heat as well as cool in a way that is almost fully CO2 neutral. This is a benefit for the environment and future residents.

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