To attract and inspire a new breed of plumber, materials of the trade, copper pipe, galvanized steel, and black pipe, serve as inspiration for the Local Union 130 Plumbers Training Facility. Within the 48,000 square foot school, apprentice education goes beyond teaching plumbing fundamentals. The building is a living laboratory for the apprentice to gain hands on experience with the industries top technology. It features state of the art water and energy conservation tools such as rainwater harvesting, a graywater system, and a solar hot water system. Hot air from twenty welding booths gets filtered cleaner than outside air and reused within shop space. The system is the first of its kind in the City of Chicago . All of this can be monitored in real-time from a digital display adjacent to the glassy mechanical room in the main lobby.
While the building’s systems focus on conserving energy, the spaces were designed for occupant comfort. All of the classrooms and “wetlabs” are naturally lit with framed views of the Chicago skyline. The main shop space showcases a large north facing clerestory, minimizing the need for artificial lighting. Large convenience stairs are meant to encourage an active environment. Materials and labor for the project were locally sourced when available and the building itself is 100% American-made through union labor.
Protecting the health of the nation is the core mission of Plumbers Union. The new training facility celebrates that tradition while propelling the trade into the next century of innovation.
In Chicago, along the shores of Lake Michigan, water scarcity is rarely a major concern. But when the Local 130 Plumbers Union set out to build a new training facility water conservation was a top priority. For Jim Coyne, union business manager, the new facility couldn’t just meet today’s needs, but had to address an evolving industry and prepare the next generation of plumber to meet future water and energy demands. The new building wouldn’t just teach these systems and techniques, it would become a living laboratory for apprentice to gain hands on experience with the industries top tech.
The new 48,000 facility houses six “wetlabs” and hundreds of fully functioning training fixtures yet uses less water than a single family house. The training facility has only used 11 gallons of city water since opening in late 2017. To achieve this a rain water harvesting system collects water on the roof surfaces, filters it, and stores it in a giant tank proudly displayed in the main lobby. The water is used to flush toilets and run the training fixtures. A graywater system captures water from lavatories and showers in the building, filters the water and uses it to irrigating the landscaped roof terrace and plaza. Together, the rainwater harvesting and graywater systems have saved 170,075 gallons of water to date. To further ensure no drop goes to waste, solenoid valves are connected to the occupancy sensors, shutting off water in the wetlabs when they are not occupied. A display screen in the lobby monitors the whole system in real time.
In addition to water conservation, the new building reduces its energy footprint by employing an array of sustainable technologies. Hot air from the twenty state of the art welding booths is filtered down to 10 microns, cleaner than outside air, and used as preheated makeup air minimizing the energy used for heating. The air is circulated with a special low velocity / high volume fan that efficiently heats and cools the 45’ tall shop space. The system is first of its kind in Chicago. The building’s hot water is provided by solar vacuum tubes mounted on the roof. The tubes are an integral part of an apprentice’s training. Together these systems result in about $17,000 in energy savings per year.
While the building’s systems focus on conserving energy, the spaces were designed for occupant comfort. All of the classrooms and wetlabs are naturally lit with stunning views of the Chicago skyline. The main shop space showcases a north facing clerestory minimizing the need for artificial lighting. Large convenience stairs are meant to encourage an active environment. Materials and labor for the project were locally sourced when available and the building itself is 100% American made.
Protecting the health of the nation is the core mission of plumbers union. The new training facility celebrates that tradition while propelling the trade into the next century of innovation.
The office and classroom portions of the building utilizes gas fired VAV rooftop units for HVAC, serving VAV and fan powered boxes with ECM motors.
Lighting systems are all LED with daylight harvesting controls.
The workshop area is heated and ventilated using an air rotation system.
The welding shop is heated and ventilated with a direct gas fired makeup air unit, plus the welding booth exhausts are filtered via a cartridge type dust collector allowing this air to be recirculated back to the building thereby reducing the makeup air needs.
The estimated EUI for the building is approximately 170 KBtu/sf/yr.
Note that energy star does not have a category for trade schools. But the median EUI for a
K-12 school is 114 and for an office building is 184, so the estimated EUI is in line with those parameters.
The new center will create jobs and pave the way for future laborers by showcasing rainwater harvesting, solar energy and grey water systems, and training thousands of apprentices and journeymen who protect the health of the nation. The construction alone created 200 union jobs including local hires and over $2.4M awarded to MBE and WBE partners. Since opening the JAC has hired 3 new instructors, enrollment has been up by over 400 applicants including 20 women. In addition to apprentice training, the building is used as a community center hosting events for local organizations.
Walk Score rating 97 walkers paradise
Transit score of 78, access to green line Morgan and Ashland green line stop, with additional stops slated to open along the Pink/Green corridor in the West Loop.
Bike Score of 90
0 parking spaces were added as a result of this project
The rainwater harvesting system utilizes a 10,000 gallon underslab concrete cistern for holding the collected rainwater. The cistern is baffled so that excess water overflows to a stormwater retention cistern. Sediment and suspended organic matter are removed before storage via vortex screening. Treatment includes 2 stages of mechanical filtration to remove all suspended solids greater than 5 microns in size. High energy ultraviolet light sanitizes the water stream with a 40 mJ/cm2 exposure. A residual level of chlorine is injected into the pressurized stream to protect water quality downstream of the system. Municipal makeup water is separated via an airgap fitting into a 3,500 gallon day tank. Condensate from the building AC systems is also run to the rainwater cistern contributing up to 2,500 gpd at peak load conditions.
It is estimated that this system can provide approximately 94% of the non-potable water demand for the building, with a projected savings of 207,000 gallons per year of city water. At current City of Chicago water rates, this is a savings of $2,107.00 per year.
Based on historical rainfall data the system should only require municipal make up water to be added to the system approximately 19 days.
To attract and inspire a new breed of plumber, materials of the trade, copper pipe, galvanized steel, and black pipe, serve as inspiration for the new Local Union 130 plumbers training facility.
The materials and labor for the project were locally sourced when available and the building itself is 100% American made. Top priority was given to materials that were low VOC materials and materials containing recycled content.