Featured Articles

Mechanical Hub recently chatted with Bryan Cordill, director of residential and commercial business development for the Propane Education & Research Council (PERC) to discuss his role and efforts to support and grow propane demand in the residential and commercial construction markets. Cordill spent 17 years working as a sales manager for his family’s propane business Read more

Mechanical Hub recently chatted with Bryan Cordill, director of residential and commercial business development for the Propane Education & Research Council (PERC) to discuss his role and efforts to support and grow propane demand in the residential and commercial construction markets.

Cordill spent 17 years working as a sales manager for his family’s propane business, Cordill Butane-Propane Service — an independent propane supplier in Monroe, Louisiana. He was then named business development officer at Ajasent Inc., where he provided cloud hosting services for propane and related service companies. Most recently, Cordill co-founded Proponent LLC — a consulting company — where he worked with company leadership to develop and deploy new strategies.

Cordill has a master’s degree in industrial and organizational psychology from Louisiana Tech University. He lives in Monroe, Louisiana.

Bryan Cordill is the director of residential and commercial business development for the Propane Education & Research Council.

MH: Bryan, great to run into you at AHR Expo and glad that you can give us a few minutes to beter understand your role with PERC. Can you give us a bit about yourself: How long have you been involved with the Propane Education & Research Council. (PERC), in the industry, and what has your journey in this industry looked like up to this point? What is a day like for you at PERC?

BC: Thanks Tim, I started with PERC as the director of business development for residential and commercial markets in June of 2019. My family has been active in the butane or propane industry since about 1932 when my grandfather started the Winnsboro Butane Company in Louisiana. He and his partners ended up selling that business as WWII was starting and they knew they wouldn’t be home to work it. He had several other companies with partners, but eventually opened Cordill Propane with my grandmother in 1963. I started working there part-time when I was about eight years old — riding with drivers, pulling hoses for them, and fetching tools for service techs. After college, I went to work full-time mostly in growth area for the company and did that until my dad retired and sold the business a few years ago. So, I have pretty much had every job there is in a propane company.

A day in the life a PERC looks different every day. We met at the AHR Expo and I spend a lot of those days walking tradeshow floors meeting with our OEM partners to talk about ongoing projects.  Sometimes, I help them by being a subject matter expert on what propane marketers or customers are looking for in a product. I like to be available for media interviews like this and have even been interviewed on a couple of podcasts lately. I set our communications strategies for both markets, but fortunately I have a ton of help executing that. Commercial and residential markets are just under 70 percent of all propane sales today, so in growing that across 50 states, no two days are alike.

MH: Please provide us with a quick elevator speech about today’s PERC, including the mission and vision of PERC?

BC: Our overall goal at PERC is to grow users and uses of propane here in the United States. To that end, we educate and train today’s propane industry workers on safety, as well as the skills necessary to provide superior customer service. We partner on research to hopefully find the next big thing, or maybe the next several little things, that will help develop those uses and grow users. And we act as a conduit of information between industry, builders, site planners, equipment manufacturers and distributors, specifiers, architects, designers, allied trades, and the end user of the products.

MH: The market has seen significant growth over the past 10+ years, how is the current economic climate affecting the industry? What are some of the challenges and how is PERC addressing those challenges?

BC: When you consider where we were in new residential construction prior to the housing or lending crisis of 2007, we haven’t seen a return to new installs of that level, but we have experienced a more sustainable, steady growth in year-over-year market share. One challenge is the continued efficiencies in products and busy lifestyles of families. The same home today uses less energy than 10 years ago. There has been a good bit of consolidation in our industry, just like my family selling its business, many families have sold to larger regional or national companies. It’s important to PERC that those surviving companies remember that their competition is not another propane company. Our industry only grows and gets stronger if we focus on our competing fuels and their use in our homes, offices, warehouses, cars, trucks, busses, and on our farms. The truth is, propane can and is successful in all those places. We just can’t take our eye off the ball. PERC has to continue sharing our stories so customers know that propane can do that.

MH:  How is PERC addressing environmental issues in the industry and the “Green” movement?

BC: I think we see the electrification of everything as a major challenge and concern for the industry. Propane can play a significant role in reducing carbon emissions as well as greenhouse gasses. Propane has a very attractive carbon footprint, it is not a greenhouse gas, and is incredibly more efficient than electricity when compared on a source-to-site evaluation. Source-to-site includes all of the energy required to produce, transport, go through transformers, and then finally delivered to the appliance. On a national average, it takes over 3 units of energy at a power plant (3.03) to get 1 unit of energy at the power plug. It takes 1.15 units of energy at the propane plant to get 1 unit of energy at the home in a burner. To make things worse for electricity, we are able to use all of the renewable energy that is produced in our country, and nuclear plants work best at stable output rates. If we keep moving to require more electrical demand the plants that can meet that need are fueled by either coal or natural gas. In all reality, electrification does not equal de-carbonization. If anything, using more electricity in our homes and business will cause greater emissions of carbon dioxide and greenhouse gasses.

I believe we have to understand there is no one-size-fits-all approach that will solve this. If we use the right fuel, in the right place, for the right thing, we will all be better off. I have no desire to go back to coal lamps or candles — I really like my led light bulbs. But we also don’t want to see consumers being told they have to use lesser-quality, more expensive electric appliances than the high comfort products that deliver continuous supplies of hot water, warm air and chef-preferred cooking.

In addition, PERC is working to increase the availability of renewable propane. We currently have two plants in production and working to grow more. PERC is also in the process of getting resources to our marketers so they can speak confidently with their customers about propane’s role in a clean environment. Part of that may be talking to school districts about clean, quiet propane-fueled school busses that have over 90 percent fewer emissions than a clean diesel competitor, and studies have shown students that ride on these busses actually score better on standardized test. Another component may be talking to the school about converting their older, inefficient boilers to newer, high-efficiency units. And that by planning that installation and budgeting the cap ex, you save tremendously over having to do an emergency repair. Or maybe it’s talking to customers in California that have experienced regular and prolonged power outages to meet their onsite needs with generators or even combined heat and power units.

MH: What are a few trends that PERC has identified in the industry?

BC: There is a lot of discussion and traction for the rapidly growing cannabis industry. A lot of these facilities are built in places without access to natural gas, and many don’t have adequate high voltage power lines to meet their demand in a cost-effective means. We see increased adoption of gas heat pumps in those and other commercial spaces where electric rates continue to climb. There are still many oil-fired boilers in the northeast and mid-Atlantic. Converting those to clean propane boilers or commercial water heaters is seeing continued growth. Tankless water heater technology continues to improve, and we see new installations that free up so much floor space in the mechanical room you hardly recognize it. There’s also tremendous growth in hospitality, not just restaurants but also hotels. CHP, CCHP and micro-CHP are all getting attention from manufacturers. We saw four or so different manufactures and approaches to delivering these products while at the show.

MH: How do you see PERC changing in the future, and how do you see yourself helping in creating that change?

BC: We are really in the middle of the change. We have completely rebuilt what business development looks like for PERC, we have taken full control of the industry safety and training program, and we are building out a modular training curriculum that will be available soon. We will also be able to deliver propane safety training to our allied industries — particularly the plumbing and HVAC communities. I get to be in the middle of delivering all of that knowledge to our commercial and residential partners. Last week alone, our team met directly with over 20 different companies about their products and commercialization efforts. It really is an exciting time.

MH: How are standards used in the industry, and what have they meant to its overall history and development?

BC: There are a number of different standards that impact the propane industry. Many are the ones that affect how products are built and certified, so ANSI, ASME, UL, CSA, CARB, and plenty of others.  But the ones that directly affect the delivery and installation of the product are things like CFR49, Pipeline Safety, and NFPA 54 and 58, those are the main fuel gas codes. These have helped to provide a very safe and dependable storage and delivery plan that allows builders, engineers, specifiers, or owners to feel comfortable using propane in their projects.

MH: How are you strengthening and building on your brand, training and resources available to members and non-members?

BC: PERC doesn’t really have members and non-members. We are funded by an industry-adopted mandatory assessment. We are a non-profit, so our resources are available to all. Just last year we migrated a ton of different websites to a single destination, Propane.com, which is a great source for everything we do. There are separate sections for commercial buildings and operations, as well as residential construction. We have a ton of information that is just focused on the consumer and answering questions they have. This is also the portal for our new learning center and all of the associated training that will be housed there. On top of all of that, we have resources that are designed and set up to help propane marketers grow their business.

MH: What are some of the things you’re doing to boost PERC’s visibility and grow market share?

BC: Obviously, one is getting the chance to visit with professionals like you and telling our story to your audience. We also invest in case studies and research to give real examples that propane can do that. I work on reaching every level of the decision chain — from site selectors, to planners and engineers, to installers. For the site selectors who are looking for land to build a project, I want them to know gas is available to them even when natural gas might not be. To the planners and engineers that are laying out the project and specifying the mechanical components, I want them to be sure they understand all of the products that are available to them. To the installers, we want to help them feel comfortable and confident in propane. And through all of that engagement, we will grow market share by having a well-informed customer reaching out to a well-prepared and knowledgeable propane marketer at the time of purchase. I don’t get to actually sell or deliver propane anymore. I just get the great job or working across the country with all of our wonderful partners to deliver that market share growth.

MH: In closing, is there anything you’d like to add?

BC: I would just suggest that your readers reach out to us at PERC if they have questions or concerns. I am available bryan.cordill@propane.com and as I mentioned, Propane.com is a great resource.

Dallas — Flashback to the year 1945. A 17-year-old Robert Tiner becomes the youngest master plumber in the state of Texas. Mr. Tiner lays the foundation for what will evolve into one of the most reputable home-service providers in Dallas-Fort Worth. Originally Mr. Tiner partnered with two brothers whose last name was actually Baker, he and his team focused Read more

Dallas — Flashback to the year 1945. A 17-year-old Robert Tiner becomes the youngest master plumber in the state of Texas. Mr. Tiner lays the foundation for what will evolve into one of the most reputable home-service providers in Dallas-Fort Worth. Originally Mr. Tiner partnered with two brothers whose last name was actually Baker, he and his team focused on providing quality plumbing while the Baker brothers specialized in insurance. After several successful years of growth Mr. Tiner bought the company outright but kept the Baker Brothers name as an ode to his former business partners and to continue to build the brand in the local area. Now in its third generation of being a family-owned-and-operated, Baker Brothers is pleased to announce the celebration of its 75th anniversary. From 1945 to present day, Baker Brothers has continued to proudly serve the community with the same type of superior quality service originally envisioned by Mr.Tiner.

 

Baker Brothers Plumbing, Air, & Electric

In honor of this milestone anniversary, Baker Brothers will conduct a year-long campaign to captivate the customers and the community that have made the company successful for so many years. Baker Brothers will share its extensive history over the course of the year through its initiative – 75 Days of Baker. This campaign will feature stories on the history of the company, as well as special limited-time offers for customers. In addition, Baker Brothers and its employees will be collecting and donating a total of 7,500 cans for local charities, Dallas Life and North Texas Food Bank.

Through the years the company has expanded its specialties from plumbing to now include heating and cooling services as well as electrical services. The Baker Brothers’ legacy continues by staying committed to its core values of “Trust, Quality, and Care” to ensure customer and employee satisfaction. Baker Brothers is home to 262 employees that strive to make customers feel like family by meeting their needs at the highest level. It is also part of the mission of Baker Brothers to give back to the community it serves and beyond, by partnering with various charities to help feed the homeless, draw water wells in Africa, and volunteer resources to no-kill animal shelters.

Third-generation company president, Jimmie Dale Jr. says of the anniversary “It is with great pride that I can say we’ve been in business for 75 years! Since our inception in 1945 as a small plumbing company specializing in leak locates, we were the first plumbing company to utilize a camera to help locate the leaks. Seventy-five years later the same spirit of innovation and relentless commitment to customer service allows us to not only meet the plumbing needs of our customers but also provide additional services in HVAC and Electrical.”

The Baker Brothers family is grateful for the opportunities it’s had to serve and make a difference in the lives of others in the community.

A quick jobsite visit to the western suburbs of Chicago found hydronics guru Alan Carlson (Instagram @alan_carlson) swapping out leaking boilers at an 80-unit apartment complex. Carlson, a plumbing and heating industry veteran has been repping the trades for the past 19 years. He entered the plumbing trade back in 2001, and for the past Read more

A quick jobsite visit to the western suburbs of Chicago found hydronics guru Alan Carlson (Instagram @alan_carlson) swapping out leaking boilers at an 80-unit apartment complex.

Carlson, a plumbing and heating industry veteran has been repping the trades for the past 19 years. He entered the plumbing trade back in 2001, and for the past few years now, he has moved over to the hydronics side of the job with Ambrust Plumbing & Heating Solutions, Carol Stream, Ill., to where—back in 2014—he took his plumbing skills. Since 1918, Armbrust has provided DuPage County residents exceptional residential/commercial plumbing and heating services.

hub on the road Alan Carlson, Alan Carlson, Armbrust Plumbing & Heating Services, plumbing, Hydronics, HVAC, heating

Carlson is testament to hard work and dedication to his craft. “I knew I wasn’t cut out for college and the trades has afforded me the opportunity to make a good living and provide for my family,” says Carlson.

Alan takes great pride in his work and it shows with the finished product. “I am a hard-working, goal-oriented person who specializes in problem solving, job quality and customer satisfaction.”

hub on the road Alan Carlson, Alan Carlson, Armbrust Plumbing & Heating Services, plumbing, Hydronics, HVAC, heatingAnd don’t take his word for it, read what customers are saying about Alan and his professionalism. According to an online review, “This is the second time I have had Alan C. over to check on our plumbing. He is always friendly and very knowledgeable. He has a considerable level of experience and he has been able to answer all of my questions. When presented with options for needed services, he is honest in giving feedback with absolutely no pressure. Armbrust is a great plumbing company.”

Carlson was introduced to the trades at a very early age because his great grandfather, C.J. Erickson, started one of the oldest, and still one of the most successful, plumbing businesses in Chicago. In 1906, Carl Joseph “Joe” Erickson immigrated to America from Sweden, settling in Chicago. Joe, an accomplished plumber, signed with Plumbers Local 130 and set out to live the American dream, opening his own shop.

hub on the road Alan Carlson, Alan Carlson, Armbrust Plumbing & Heating Services, plumbing, Hydronics, HVAC, heating

Although Carlson never worked at his great grandfather’s shop in the city, he got a taste early in his youth of what working in the trades would be like. “I didn’t know what career I wanted after high school. I tried the local junior college without any direction, hoping I would magically find something. I didn’t even finish a year. I decided that if my family can run a successful plumbing company in Chicago for four generations, and if my neighbor who owns his own company can make a good living, I would try plumbing,” says Carlson.

hub on the road Alan Carlson, Alan Carlson, Armbrust Plumbing & Heating Services, plumbing, Hydronics, HVAC, heating

The trades have enriched Carlson’s life because he now possesses important and highly desired skills. “I also have a better understanding and much higher respect for those who work physically hard to earn their wage,” says Carlson.

Carlson stresses that there never should be a negative stereotype attached to being in the trades. “Having a career in the trades does not mean that you’re dumb or dirty or should be looked down upon. A trade is a highly skilled and highly needed job. If you want to have a career where you will always be needed, regardless of the economy, become a plumber. And if you do decide to get into it, work hard, never stop learning and never stop asking questions; be the first one there and the last one to leave,” says Carlson.

This paper refers to legal professional cannabis growers complying with state/provincial laws. Professional cannabis growers are well aware that environmental conditions play a critical role in plant quality and overall yield. Most can recite the ideal temperature and humidity for their crops without missing a beat. But ask most growers which type of pipe is Read more

This paper refers to legal professional cannabis growers complying with state/provincial laws.

Professional cannabis growers are well aware that environmental conditions play a critical role in plant quality and overall yield. Most can recite the ideal temperature and humidity for their crops without missing a beat. But ask most growers which type of pipe is best and they’ll likely to refer you to the closest head shop. The fact is professional growers (of cannabis or otherwise) are generally unaware of the piping options they have or the extent to which these options impact structural costs, energy efficiency and overall sustainability.  When these matters are given proper consideration, polypropylene emerges as a great choice for this burgeoning industry.

Aquatherm, Polypropylene Piping, PP, PPE, Cannibas Growing Facility, plumbing, HVAC, plumbing & heating

Cannabis growing facilities use a lot of energy and generate a lot of heat, making a reli- able cooling system essential.

Polypropylene pipe has been widely used for plumbing and hydronic heating in Europe since the 1970s. However, it was not introduced to North America until 2005.  Since then, it has become increasingly popular for a wide range of applications, from radiant heating of sports fields to process applications in craft breweries. It is a lightweight yet highly durable thermoplastic pipe with pressure and temperature tolerances that make it suitable for hydronic heating and cooling, potable water, and industrial and food-grade applications.

Aquatherm, Polypropylene Piping, PP, PPE, Cannibas Growing Facility, plumbing, HVAC, plumbing & heating

Depending on size and wall thickness, polypropylene pipe can weigh up to 70% less than carbon steel pipe.

Unlike metal pipe, the installation of polypropylene pipe does not involve traditional torch welding. Instead it relies on a flameless heat-fusion method that’s easy to learn and highly reliable at creating virtually leak-free connections.  When contractors become adept at heat fusion, they can typically install polypropylene piping much faster than welding copper, carbon steel and stainless-steel pipe.

An appealing characteristic of polypropylene is its chemical purity and inertness. It does not rust, scale or leach any impurities into to the fluids it transports, nor does it react with most chemicals. This not only improves its longevity over other piping materials, it also makes it suitable for a wide range of applications.  Furthermore, unlike PVC or CPVC piping, polypropylene pipe does not become brittle or susceptible to cracking when exposed to cold temperatures. A full list of the physical/performance characteristics of polypropylene and associated benefits is shown in Table 1.

Aquatherm, Polypropylene Piping, PP, PPE, Cannibas Growing Facility, plumbing, HVAC, plumbing & heatingWhere does polypropylene fit into the day-to-day operation of a grow facility? The answer is pretty much any application that requires the transport of fluids. But to truly understand the potential roles that polypropylene can play in the growing cannabis industry, one must first look at the special needs, challenges and values of the industry.

An Energy Intensive Industry

The electrical demand of cannabis grow facilities is staggering. According to the 2018 Cannabis Energy Report, legal cannabis cultivation in the U.S. consumes an estimated 1.1 terawatt-hours of electricity a year, enough to power all of Newark, New Jersey or Anaheim, California.[1] In indoor grow facilities — very often repurposed warehouses or other types of vacant buildings —this massive energy consumption is caused by the artificial light required to grow cannabis. Heat from these lights imposes another energy burden: cooling. Year-round cooling loads are unavoidable in indoor facilities since carefully controlled space temperatures are essential for growers to achieve maximum yields. Greenhouse facilities may avoid most of the need for artificial light, but still need heating, cooling and dehumidification. In either case, large facilities benefit from the long-term efficiency of centralized hydronic heating and/or cooling systems, which are typically about 15 percent to 20 percent more efficient than other HVAC options.[2]  These systems utilize piping to transport the heating water to and from a central boiler system and to transport cooling water to and from a chiller and/or evaporative cooling equipment.

Aquatherm, Polypropylene Piping, PP, PPE, Cannibas Growing Facility, plumbing, HVAC, plumbing & heating

Polypropylene piping is ideal for these applications for reasons that directly impact the efficiency and longevity of a grow facility. First, the inner walls of polypropylene pipe are uniquely smooth, resulting in reduced friction losses, reducing pump energy consumption. The friction losses of polypropylene start out low and remain low for the life of the system because the pipe is not susceptible to rust or scale. Steel, copper and other metals do rust and corrode over time, increasing friction losses and the pump energy required to overcome those losses.

Aquatherm, Polypropylene Piping, PP, PPE, Cannibas Growing Facility, plumbing, HVAC, plumbing & heating

Socket fusion (shown here) is one method of heat-fusing polypropylene pipe and fittings.

Polypropylene pipe also can be used in conjunction with geothermal heat pump systems which are frequently applied in agriculture. Geothermal systems rely on the earth or a body of water as a heatsink and/or heat source for highly efficient transfer of heat to and from the growing spaces for space conditioning and agricultural processes.  In these applications, polypropylene pipe transports the heating and/or cooling fluid from the central energy source to forced-air equipment or a radiant distribution loop. The pipe can be buried in the ground and/or concrete floors without the need for any protective sleeves or wrap.

Another strategy that grow facilities often use to reduce their energy consumption is heat reclaim. In these applications, polypropylene pipe can be used to transfer energy to or from process water, wastewater, or any other source that can be used to pre-heat or pre-cool water for other heating, cooling or process needs. This gives growers the opportunity to fully optimize whatever resources are available to them – whether it be the sun, a nearby lake, or even a nearby wastewater treatment plant. It’s all been done with polypropylene.

Specialized Growing Strategies

Not all commercial cannabis is grown in soil. Some is grown hydroponically with plant roots submerged in a nutrient-rich solution of water and fertilizers while others are grown aeroponically with roots suspended in air, drawing nutrients from a sprayed mist.  These grow strategies very often rely on high purity water (typically reverse osmosis or deionized water) when existing water sources are determined unsuitable.

Aquatherm, Polypropylene Piping, PP, PPE, Cannibas Growing Facility, plumbing, HVAC, plumbing & heating

Versatile fusion tools allow polypropylene pipe to be heat- fused in spaces in which welding metal pipe would be difficult or impossible.

High purity water automatically limits piping options. Copper should never be used with deionized water because if the fluid’s pH levels fall below 6.5, corrosion may occur and copper molecules can leach into the supply. Although stainless steel piping is an option for these applications, it is often cost-prohibitive and it, too, will leach over time if the water should become too acidic or too alkaline. Polypropylene is ideal for these applications because it does not leach, and its installation never requires the use of any potential contaminants such as solder, flux or glue. It can even be used for potable water and food processing since it is available in formulations that meet both NSF 51 and NSF 61.

Facilitating Construction and Expansion

Growers and owners are typically under a lot of pressure to quickly get grow facilities operational so they can begin the journey from seed to profit as soon as possible. Construction schedules are always a challenge, particularly when it comes to mechanical components like piping. Installing metal pipe requires licensed welders (expensive and increasingly scarce) as well as special permitting for the use of open flames on a jobsite.  In addition, maneuvering heavy sections of metal pipe into existing structures and then supporting it so it can be welded into place is both logistically and physically challenging. Under these circumstances, a seemingly trivial error like a miscalculation in metal pipe length can put a project several days (if not weeks) behind schedule.

Aquatherm, Polypropylene Piping, PP, PPE, Cannibas Growing Facility, plumbing, HVAC, plumbing & heating

Polypropylene pipe is hydrophobic and will never scale and corrode the way metal pipe does.

Opting for polypropylene pipe keeps these jobsite nightmares at bay for the following reasons:

  • Polypropylene is lightweight – especially helpful in greenhouses where structural support is limited
  • Polypropylene fittings can be prefabricated offsite in controlled areas so that jobsite fabrications are minimized – some manufacturers even offer fabrication services
  • Improper lengths can usually be amended at the jobsite with little disruption to work schedules
  • The pipe’s maneuverability compared to metal means it can be better negotiated in tight spaces

If an owner has hopes to expand the facility in the future (as many do), polypropylene piping systems are much easier to build out than metal pipe. Strategically located shut-off valves make it easy to isolate flow and cut into existing pipe to create new connections with minimal disruption to current operations. Fusion outlets allow for easy and relatively inexpensive expansions and one manufacturer offers a hot tap solution. Again, no flames or permits are required.

Beer There, Done That

If cannabis entrepreneurs need relevant examples of all that polypropylene can do, they need only look as far as the craft brewing industry. Craft brewers, an intensely collaborative group, have solidly embraced polypropylene for all that it has to offer, most notably its purity, sustainability, and fast and flexible installation – interests that closely parallel those of the cannabis industry.

“The word of mouth in the craft brewing industry is amazing, so we’ve had tremendous growth from breweries using it, not just for the glycol lines but in their heating and cooling applications, their geothermal applications, their domestic water supply, CO2, compressed air applications and beyond,” said Barry Campbell,  VP of Marketing at Aquatherm, a leading manufacturer of polypropylene pressure piping systems.

Aquatherm, Polypropylene Piping, PP, PPE, Cannibas Growing Facility, plumbing, HVAC, plumbing & heating

A properly executed heat-fusion on polypropylene pipe creates a single piece with no leak paths.

According to Campbell, the fact that polypropylene is among the most environmentally friendly piping systems available has helped Aquatherm gain favor among craft brewers. One polypropylene pipe manufacturer has also done the certification work to allow the product to contribute to LEED v4 credits in the U.S. Green Building Council’s (USGBC) program.

An interest in sustainability is just one of the many commonalities that exist between the cannabis and brewing industries.  Like so many newly incorporated cannabis growers, many craft brewers begin their entrepreneurial journey in the shell of a vacated building where existing infrastructure can challenge piping installations. The building or parking lot next door is “Phase II” of their venture.  Finally, owners are often the same people brewing the beer or growing the cannabis,  so they tend to be more hands-on in the selection of mechanical equipment. They do their own research and tend to look outside the box for ways to conserve energy.

Robert Millspaugh, operations supervisor at Flathead Lake Brewing Company in Bigfork, Montana, did extensive research on what piping to use for the process side of the brewery before ultimately choosing polypropylene. Flathead Lake, born from the ruins of an old bowling alley, installed several thousand feet of polypropylene to transport both heating water and glycol for heating, cooling, and process applications. Part of the system even uses clean effluent from a nearby water treatment plant to indirectly pre-temper process water for better efficiency.

Aquatherm, Polypropylene Piping, PP, PPE, Cannibas Growing Facility, plumbing, HVAC, plumbing & heating

“We were looking for products that would help us achieve a LEED certification and [polypropylene] had a lot to offer. I also came across an article on Epic [Brewing Company in Salt Lake City] and how they used [polypropylene] in a renovation and discussed the product with the brewer there,” said Millspaugh.

Polypropylene also has been used successfully in brewing applications that require piping for food-grade and potable water.

Avondale Brewing Co., in Birmingham, AL was the first North American brewery to use Aquatherm’s food-grade (NSF-51) polypropylene pipe to transport beer from vessels in the main brewery to its packaging building where it is kegged, canned and bottled. The piping, which also is NSF-listed for potable water, is cleaned and sanitized between uses. Of course, like all of the manufacturer’s polypropylene systems, the piping is guaranteed to be free of heavy metals and toxic chemicals.

Cleanliness is a high priority in breweries and is one of the main reasons Founders Brewing Co. in Grand Rapids, MI, decided to use polypropylene in a heat reclaim process that taps heat from the brewing process to pre-heat outdoor air before it enters the building’s HVAC system. The piping is wash-down rated, so the brewer can keep the brew facility sparkling clean.

Examples like these demonstrate the potential for polypropylene piping in the cannabis industry.

“The craft brewing industry and everything it has been able to do with our pipe has created an unexpected blueprint for cannabis growers and how they can use polypropylene to facilitate construction, save energy and be more sustainable,” said Campbell.

[1] New Frontier Data, 2018 Cannabis Energy Report. Scale Microgrid Solutions and Resource Innovation Institute, co-authors. https://newfrontierdata.com/product/2018-cannabis-energy-report/

[2] Surna, Sustainability for Your Indoor Garden (blog) https://surna.com/sustainability-for-your-indoor-garden/

Donation of new water well first for program partnership Suffolk, Va. — A rural Virginia family displaced from their home after their water well failed are receiving the gift of clean water today, marking the first project of Hometown H2O, a domestic water program aimed at bringing education and access to clean and sustainable water Read more

Hometown H2O, Xylem, Goulds, plumbing, Chris Long, Chris Long Foundation, philanthropy, people in need, water well installation

Donation of new water well first for program partnership

Suffolk, Va. — A rural Virginia family displaced from their home after their water well failed are receiving the gift of clean water today, marking the first project of Hometown H2O, a domestic water program aimed at bringing education and access to clean and sustainable water to people and communities in need across the United States.

Hometown H2O is an extension of The Chris Long Foundation‘s Waterboys initiative and the result of a partnership announced in December 2019 with Xylem Inc.

Hometown H2O, Xylem, Goulds, plumbing, Chris Long, Chris Long Foundation, philanthropy, people in need, water well installation

“This family’s situation is not an isolated instance of the water challenges facing many lower-income rural communities in the United States,” said Chris Long, two-time Super Bowl champion and founder and chairman of the Chris Long Foundation. “Addressing domestic water needs is an important next step in our work at Waterboys, which is why we created Hometown H2O. Having our first project in my home state of Virginia is special to me, but it is just the beginning of our U.S. work with Xylem to impact lives through the gift of water.”

Hometown H2O, Xylem, Goulds, plumbing, Chris Long, Chris Long Foundation, philanthropy, people in need, water well installation

The family of six in Suffolk, Virginia, bought the property in 2018 and began experiencing water issues about six months ago when the shallow well pump on the property began pumping sand and water into the house. The property needed a new, deeper well, but it would cost thousands of dollars the family did not have.

Without running water, Social Services would not allow the family to live in the house, so they stayed at a hotel for several months until aid ran out, eventually moving in with family out of state. The family applied for assistance through the nonprofit Water Well Trust, and Hometown H2O, Xylem and its partners quickly mobilized.

Hometown H2O, Xylem, Goulds, plumbing, Chris Long, Chris Long Foundation, philanthropy, people in need, water well installation

Waterboys project in Suffolk, VA with the Crawford family.

Xylem coordinated the donation of the water well equipment from among its network of partners,

Noland Supply of Elizabeth City, North Carolina, a WinSupply company, and Creason & Sons Well Service Inc. of Zuni, Virginia. The companies began the prep work at the site about a week ago for the well installation.

In addition to the new well, Xylem and its team of volunteers, activated through Watermark, Xylem’s acclaimed corporate social responsibility program, are completing a number of interior and exterior home improvement projects on the property, including installing a shower in the bathroom and fixing a warped front porch to help improve the family’s overall quality of life.

Hometown H2O, Xylem, Goulds, plumbing, Chris Long, Chris Long Foundation, philanthropy, people in need, water well installation

“Having clean water restored to their home will allow this family to reunite and live safely — it is truly lifechanging,” said Joe Vesey, Xylem senior vice president and chief marketing officer. “We have the opportunity of a lifetime to solve our growing domestic water challenges by bringing individuals and organizations together and leveraging their expertise and resources.”

Hometown H2O, Xylem, Goulds, plumbing, Chris Long, Chris Long Foundation, philanthropy, people in need, water well installation

Xylem and Waterboys, along with nonprofit partner Water Well Trust, seek to raise awareness about domestic water issues, including that 1.5 million people in the U.S. lack access to clean, safe drinking water at home. Working in coordination with Watermark and the company’s Goulds Water Technology brand, this partnership will deliver a series of water well projects to provide rural communities with reliable, safe water access, which can lead to better overall health and improved quality of life.

For more information about the Hometown H2O project, visit waterboys.org/hometown.

Photos by Michael-Simon-Photography