Hydronic Residential More Than 5,000 sq. ft.

Rahi Al Asadtraveled from another world to collect his 1999 System Showcase award for residential project over 5,000 sq. ft. Well, he may not have traveled that far, but a trip from Amman, Jordan, to the United States can feel like you've come from another world.

The 16,150 sq. ft. Saraf Villa residential project submitted by the Arab Technical Group contained it all: underfloor radiant heat, radiators, a snowmelt system and even a water to water heat exchanger for a swimming pool.

"The most common system for heating in Jordan is radiator heating," Al Asad says. "Now the residential market is shifting to underfloor radiant heat."

His company, born in 1989, employs 21 people. The Arab Technical Group finds its radiant heat installation split evenly between residential and commercial radiator projects. The underfloor heat installations, however, are slanted heavily toward residential projects (95 percent residential vs. 5 percent commercial).

Same Concept, Different Country

Al Asad says he invests a great deal of money in newspaper ads, television commercials and client information packets. But when it came down to it, the Arab Technical Group won the Saraf Villa job through quality presentations. "It was a tough negotiation with the consultant engineer to convince him with our design," says Al Asad. "We backed everything up with the presentations."

This project represented one of the first underfloor radiant projects the Arab Technical Group completed. "It was very hard to get this job, especially since it was a relatively new system in Jordan," Al Asad explains.

The system contains two Weil McLain boilers. The first boiler is used to heat the floors and is used as a water to water heat exchanger for the swimming pool during the summer. The second boiler is used for heating radiators and domestic hot water.

Divided into eight zones, each zone is pumped separately and has its own three-way valve. Water temperature of each zone is maintained by a central processing controller that uses the outside temperature as a gauge. Each zone has an air temperature sensor that changes the water set temperature according to inside air temperature. The zones were selected according to the application of the area and the orientation of the building and type of flooring.

Al Asad had several different floor coverings to consider while designing the system, including hardwood floors, carpeting, ceramic tile and marble.

Underfloor heating was installed on the ground and first floors, where 3/4-inch PEX tubes were laid out. Steel radiators were affixed in the basement and a snowmelting loop was run for the garage entrance as part of the basement radiator manifold. It was equipped with a slab thermostat to control its manifold telestat, Al Asad says. A touch screen displays the system's status and provides temperature control.

Wirsbo EVAL pipes were used for the radiator network by installing the pipes inside a conduit, explains Al Asad. A central manifold was used for each radiator zone, and solar collectors were installed for DHW during the summer.

Finished in 1993, the system has not had any problems in more than five years. "He is so happy with the job we've done that he has helped us get other jobs through personal relations and word of mouth," Al Asad says.

Other Hydronic Residential Over 5,000 sq. ft. System Showcase Award Winners:

2nd Place: Ambrey Mechanical Co. Inc., Petrosky Residence, Brekenridge, Colo.