United Association Plumbers Local 130 in Chicago was slated to hold the grand opening for its new training center September 12. The inside of the building is like Disneyland for plumbing geeks.
The solar collector is a Sun Equinox evacuated tube collector produced by Solar Usage Now. The collector boils alcohol that heats water in a copper manifold at the top of the collector. The collector can produce 190°F water at 0°F ambient.
The evacuated tube collector feeds this 120-gallon polypropylene insulated atmospheric hot water storage tank. The solar system is a drain-down system. Its function is to preheat domestic hot water.
This Caleffi solar controller controls the solar storage tank and its pumps. If the solar collector can’t provide enough hot water, it’s time to turn to Plan B.
The Caleffi solar control will turn on the pumps to direct water through this Noritz boiler if the solar collector can’t produce adequate hot water.
Trane rooftop units heat and cool the building through a VAV system.
These three Bradford White boilers provide terminal reheat capabilities at the VAV boxes.
The building is topped with multiple areas of green roof. The green roof is the starting point for the training center’s rainwater recovery system. Rainwater is used for flushing toilets and urinals and in the hot water lab area.
Rainwater passes through a 380-micron vortex filter and then into a 10,000 gallon underground storage tank. From there a submersible pump sends the rainwater through a 50-micron backwash filter, a 5-micron filter, a carbon filter, a UV sanitizer, and a chlorine injector before ending up ready to use in the green 3,500-gallon “day tank” seen here.
Recovered rainwater goes to the classrooms. A motion detector in the classroom activates the solenoid valve in the middle — if there’s nobody in the classroom, the water is shut off.
The use of recovered rainwater to flush toilets and urinals is called out by signage near the flushometer valves
Men’s room “faucets” are bare copper pipe with NIBCO ball valves. A temperature gauge on the supply piping shows the rate at which hot water reaches the faucet.
Water from faucets, showers and any of the faucet and fixtures lab classrooms goes through the gray water system and is used for underground landscape irrigation.
Apprentices have to learn the basics of manual drafting before they study computer-aided design. The training center teaches AutoCAD exclusively in a classroom next door that holds 20 Hewlett Packard workstations.
Plumbers Local 130 clocks were made in Chicago by the Chicago Lighthouse for the Blind. Ninety-nine percent of the contents of the training center was made in the USA, and as much as possible was union-made.
Bradford White supplied all of the tanks in the hot water lab.
Students can work on a variety of sinks and water closets in this fixture classroom.
Students can learn how to troubleshoot and repair valves large and small in the valve lab.
A classroom contains every type of valve that’s outside the wall. In addition to both manual and electronic flush valves from American Standard, Moen, Sloan, Toto and Zurn, the room contains every imaginable type of shower valve and kitchen faucets.
The training center includes a mocked up area for new building construction, with steel studs replicating a commercial building and wood studs residential. Up to 25 students can work on each “floor.”
The training center has a section devoted to hot work, include cutting, brazing and welding. Just outside the room are manifolds connected to 10 tanks of acetylene and 10 tanks of oxygen.
Students learn how to install and replace water mains and fire hydrants in a section of the building devoted to underground work.
Plumbers Local 130 acknowledges the contributions of its many sponsors.