In early summer 2014, Hospital Sisters Health System St. Elizabeth’s Hospital announced plans to move from downtown Belleville, Illinois, to O’Fallon, Illinois, about 8 miles away.

This resulted in the construction of a new $253 million replacement facility that broke ground in 2016 and is scheduled to open this fall. It will feature 144 beds and 344,000 square feet of space.

Richard Lackey at Icon Mechanical, based in Granite City, Illinois, specified the forced air duct systems on the project. For all low-pressure piping downstream of the terminal box, which has to be sealed to a Class A rating, he chose the GreenSeam Plus factory-sealed snap-lock pipe from GreenSeam Industries, a subsidiary of DMI Cos.

Proper sealing of the duct system is a critical step in every HVAC system installation. If there is faulty sealing, leakage problems can strain the system while increasing energy costs.

The GreenSeam Plus system features a pre-installed gasket that seals the longitudinal seam and the traverse joint once snapped together. The system is designed and tested to surpass Class 3 leakage standards from the Sheet Metal and Air-Conditioning Contractors’ National Association. With factory-sealed joints, low-leakage hardware and zero volatile organic compound gaskets, contractors have the freedom to install a presealed system to save time and money that results in in an attractive installation, according to GreenSeam officials.

Lackey said that after four decades in the ductwork fabrication industry, GreenSeam changed his opinion on such systems.

“Snap-lock systems used to have a bad reputation because they were thought to cause ‘dog legging’ and uneven runs of pipe, sometimes resulting in leaks,” Lackey said. “But the GreenSeam Plus system is proven to provide straight pipe runs, a tight seal, and it’s quick and easy to install, saving significant labor costs because additional sealing isn’t needed.”

Saving labor

“This project was the first where we used the GreenSeam Plus system,” Lackey added. “The installers really like the product because it’s fast to install and works so well. As a result, it’s the only product we use on all low-pressure pipe systems.”

In addition to health care and educational facilities, Icon Mechanical provides design-build services for commercial office buildings, high-tech and biotech laboratories, and heavy industrial clients across the United States.

Installation for the St. Elizabeth’s Hospital project was completed by Glen Carbon, Illinois-based France Mechanical Corp. and Hoch Mechanical. Lackey said he heard nothing but excellent reviews from both contracting companies about the quality of the product and ease of installation.

 “We typically see a savings of at least 20-30 percent on field labor with this system because once each section is snapped into place, it’s done,” Lackey said. “There is no need to go back and apply sealant to each joint, which also saves on material costs.”

American Metals Supply Co., located in St. Louis, supplied more than 10,000 feet of GreenSeam Plus, along with hundreds of adjustable elbows and dampers. Pipe and fittings ranged from 6-14 inches in diameter.

Jon Fleming, territory manager at American Metals Supply, said using GreenSeam was easy.

“The two biggest advantages of the GSI system are labor savings and aesthetics,” he said. “Once the sections of pipe are snapped together, an airtight seal is formed. Installers don’t need to go back to seal each joint. Also, when they leave the project, they can look at their work with pride when they see a flawless, visually attractive job without the traditional sealant being smeared over each joint.”

With energy efficiency growing in importance, products like GreenSeam are becoming a necessity, he said.

“Code enforcers are getting more strict all the time for both commercial and residential projects, and specifiers and contractors are using snap-lock pipe more and more,” Fleming said. “The GreenSeam Plus system really seems to be the direction where things are moving and the wave of the future.” 

This article and its images were supplied by GreenSeam Industries.