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North Carolina State University Housing
Raleigh, NC 

Campus Housing Provides Green Living for Students

Six new buildings on the North Carolina State University (NCSU) campus serve as the first new living quarters on campus in nearly a decade, and students were quick to fill up every unit – from the four-bedroom apartments to the single-person lofts. Pending LEED®-Silver certification, there are common laundry rooms with high-efficiency, front-loading washers and dryers; a rooftop garden covered in purple-flowering sedum plants and a 50,000-gallon cistern buried in a common courtyard to collect air conditioner condensation and rooftop runoff to irrigate the grounds around the complex.

The State Construction Office for North Carolina, prior to the 2012 student housing project, did not officially approve Uponor AquaPEX® and ProPEX® fittings for state-owned projects, and general contractors Balfour Beatty and Barnhill (who did a joint venture for the campus housing project) needed to present data and information on PEX-a’s proven track record to acquire approval prior to breaking ground. But changes have gone into effect since then, and the State Construction Office now fully approves PEX-a in plumbing, ensuring Uponor can be considered for all commercial plumbing projects for the state of North Carolina.

Dewberry, located in Raleigh, N.C., was the engineering firm in charge of designing the North Carolina campus project. According to Alex Rabb with RepSouth, an Uponor rep firm, Dewberry has continued to specify Uponor and PEX-a whenever possible in new projects since the university installation.

“It was a pleasure working with Dewberry,” Rabb said. “We are planning many additional projects in our area with other engineering firms using PEX-a and Uponor. We are starting to see a trend away from traditional copper and CPVC as engineering and contracting firms are taking advantage of the cost and labor savings of PEX-a.”

The installing contracting company, ABL & Associates in Raleigh, was new to Uponor and PEX-a installations, and the crew received training and support on site by Uponor and RepSouth. Alex Rabb and his team helped ABL & Associates get up to speed with the installation.

“The crew encountered some installation obstacles at the start of the process due to their unfamiliarity with the product,” Rabb said, “but they quickly got up to speed with a bit of practice.”

Anthony Lampuri is the executive vice president for ABL & Associates and has worked for the company for the last 24 years. In his long career, he has seen the industry remain committed to copper and CPVC, and only in the last few years have North and South Carolina started considering PEX-a for state-run projects.

“There was a substantial cost saving going with Uponor over copper on this project,” he said. “It is my belief that we installed the plumbing system 30 percent faster with PEX. And the Uponor fitting system helped us move the installation along at a great pace.”

It took eight installers to plumb 640 bathrooms for the new complex, and ABL & Associates would welcome additional PEX projects. “Most of our jobs are still specified copper,” Lampuri said, “but I think this will change over time when the industry as a whole realizes the overall cost and labor savings plus the added speed of installation with PEX over CPVC and copper.”

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Project Highlights:

• Six new buildings on the North Carolina State University campus
• Six new buildings on the North Carolina State University campus
• General Contractor: Joint venture between Balfour Beatty and Barnhill, Charlotte, N.C.
• Installing Contractor: ABL & Associates, Raleigh, N.C.
• System: Uponor PEX-a Plumbing System

Project Details:

• ½"-2" Uponor AquaPEX® Tubing
• ProPEX® Engineered Polymer (EP) Fittings
• ProPEX® Out-of-the-Wall Support System
• Milwaukee ProPEX Expansion Tools

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