Division 22 23 Ebook Page 181 Memphis City Schools Fight Mold with VaporWick Insulation Case Study

"It is hard to seal everything up perfectly when you are working in a tight space," says Tutton. "Any little crack or open area can let air in and condense moisture. When that happens you are just setting yourself up for mold later on. "With VaporWick insulation we have more leeway," he continues. "We need to make sure the wicking material is placed properly but we don't need to seal the insulation tightly. "We like it," concludes Tutton. "I highly recommend it." Russell George, Manager of the Customer Support Center and Energy Management Systems at the schools, says he approved the choice of VaporWick insulation even though the product is more expensive on a per-piece or per-foot basis. "When you factor in the ease of installation, VaporWick insulation is not more expensive," says George, who also considered the fact that the product would be installed by general maintenance crews, not professional insulators. "VaporWick insulation produces a more forgiving system," he explains. "It doesn't require a perfect installation job. If the seams are not exactly perfect, the VaporWick system will still manage any moisture that gets into the piping." Mike Davis, technical representative for distributor Insulation & Refractories Services, Inc., is pleased with the way VaporWick insulation works. He admits, however, that he and others at the company were pleasantly surprised. "We all said it wouldn't work," admits Davis. "It's pretty unbelievable. It contradicts traditional methods of insulating chilled pipe. For years we were told to achieve a complete seal and with VaporWick insulation we are going in the exact opposite direction." Despite their misgivings, Davis says the company decided to give the product a chance and installed it in a mechanical room at a college in the Memphis area. "That was several years ago and the insulation is holding up very well," says Davis. "We definitely have confidence in the product now," he continues. "We have used it many times since the test installation and it has always solved the moisture problem we were trying to address." Freddie Veteto, mechanical engineer, project manager and an owner of Insulation and Refractories Services, is another doubter who became a believer after seeing VaporWick insulation perform under extreme conditions. "We installed VaporWick insulation on chilled pipe above the cookers in a rice mill," says Veteto. "They have steam rising from the cookers and chilled pipe running about 10 feet above. We put VaporWick insulation right on while the chilled water system was running. That was last spring and the insulation still looks good. There have been no problems there." Johnny Whitsett, president of Insulation & Refractories Services and also a company owner, says they decided to try VaporWick insulation based on their confidence in Owens Corning Area Sales Manager Steve Campbell. "We've got 110 percent faith in Steve Campbell. If Steve told me the Mississippi River is going to dry up I would believe it. He is a man of his word and he kept pounding into my head that this product did work. So we gave it a test and found that it does perform." Whitsett says the company first used VaporWick insulation on several small jobs and monitored the applications. "We are still monitoring those small jobs and the insulation is still performing well," he says. Darrell Cothern, the sales representative at IRS who worked with Memphis City Schools, saw VaporWick insulation perform well in several installations at large commercial facilities in Memphis. "Those facilities have several large chilled water lines," says Cothern. "With other types of insulation they would last a while and then the company would need to go back in to fix leaks. Once VaporWick insulation was installed, the cycle was broken. That proved to us that VaporWick will work." MEMPHIS CITY SCHOOLS The Memphis City Schools is the largest school system in the state of Tennessee and the 18th largest metropolitan school system in the nation. The school system is one of the largest employers in Memphis with approximately 16,500 full-time and part-time employees. More than 118,000 K-12 students are served in 185 schools with 396 separate buildings with 18 million square feet of floor space. Maintenance spending is approximately $20 million annually. How much chilled pipe do they have? "Miles and miles and miles," says Russell George, who is in charge of the Customer Support Center and Energy Management Systems. MOLD: A GROWING PROBLEM FOR SCHOOLS Nationwide, school districts are finding allergy-inducing mold in walls, on ceiling tiles and near ventilation systems. According to published news reports, mold has forced some administrators to shut down schools and make millions of dollars in repairs. Others face lawsuits from students and staff members who claim moldy buildings caused long-term health problems. "It's a growing problem, and it's one of the more high-priority issues that schools are dealing with," said Ericka Plater, indoor air quality manager for the American Association of School Administrators. In the fall of 2002, 1,000 local students spent a month at Bristol Motor Speedway - not watching races but studying in the skyboxes while mold was removed at their high school. Sullivan County Schools director John O'Dell said the Bristol high school was shut down for about six weeks and $600,000 worth of repairs after children became ill and several classrooms tested positive for black mold, or Stachybotrys chartarum, which is said to cause breathing problems.

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