Currently on track to become the nation’s first certified Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED®) Silver hospital, the new $754-million Sidney & Lois Eskenazi Hospital and Eskenazi Health campus in Indianapolis places a considerable emphasis on green design. One of the project team’s foremost sustainable design goals was for the facility’s mechanical system to meet ASHRAE 90.1 requirements, while providing the highest indoor environmental quality for patients.

An integral component of this strategy was properly sealing the ductwork of the HVAC system and covering all of it with fiberglass duct wrap. Alloyd Insulation Co. Inc., Dayton, Ohio, was contracted to install the pipe insulation and duct insulation for the 1.3 million-square-foot, 11-story hospital, and the galvanized steel ductwork was fabricated by Bright Sheet Metal Co. Inc., Indianapolis.

The project’s mechanical engineer, Syska Hennessy Group, New York, gave Alloyd Insulation Co. a choice of five duct wrap products in its specification. The contractor chose CertainTeed® SoftTouch™ duct wrap, a product they install regularly. SoftTouch is a resilient fiberglass blanket insulation applied to the exterior of sheet metal ductwork. When properly installed in the correct thickness, SoftTouch reduces unwanted heat loss or gain from equipment and ductwork and virtually eliminates potential ductwork condensation problems that can often lead to mold and microbial growth.

Alloyd Insulation Co. began work in 2011, with a crew of 15, ready for an expansive, high-profile job. Due to the size and scope of the project, ductwork ranged in size from 6-inch round to giant 8-foot x 8-foot square ducts. And, with the ducts already installed with other system components around them, accessing the ductwork was the biggest challenge of the project.

“As is often the case with hospital projects, the duct goes in first, everything else goes in below it, and good luck getting to it,” said David Hines, field superintendent for Alloyd Insulation Co. “You sometimes had to climb up on top of the duct, drill a hole in the concrete slab above and screw in an anchor for hooking up our safety harnesses. We just had to use a lot of extra safety precautions on this project. It certainly made the job more time-consuming, but everything went well, and it was a great project.”

The crew was often working off hydraulic lifts at heights of 25 to 30 feet. Another daunting part of the installation came when the crew was working on large ductwork in the elevator shafts. Safety equipment and careful steps were key in those areas.

“These shafts ran from the basement to the floor, and there were a lot of big ducts there that we needed to wrap,” Hines said. “You’d walk out there on a board and look down and realize it’s about 100 feet down. So, in those areas, we had to incorporate additional safety measures.”

Fortunately, the crew made it through the project without a scratch, finishing the project on schedule last fall. All told, they installed about 300,000 square feet of SoftTouch duct wrap. Despite all of the project’s logistical challenges, the installation ran smoothly, thanks to the easy handling of the duct wrap. The product’s soft fibers and mat integrity make it easier for crews to cut and install — one of the main reasons the contractor uses it often.

“We use SoftTouch on a lot of our projects,” said Hines. “It cuts cleaner and just doesn’t seem to cause as much itching on our installers as other fiberglass insulation products do. The less itch the better. When the crew doesn’t have to worry about getting too many glass fibers on their hands, they’re more productive and can install the insulation faster.”

Sidney & Lois Eskenazi Hospital and Eskenazi Health campus opened last December to glowing reviews and national health care industry attention. The project team expects to receive LEED Silver certification for the facility this year.

The project team also gave positive feedback to Alloyd Insulation Co. for a job well done.

“It turned out to be a really good project for us,” Hines said. “Everything went well, overall, and we are happy we were a part of it.”

Publication date: 4/21/2014

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