December 8, 2014
The annual Greenbuild International Conference & Expo brings the most innovative green building trends and the latest sustainable building technologies under one roof. Each year, the best of the best in the building industry gather in the spirit of collaboration and working toward a brighter future – and we want to recognize those who continually renew their commitment to the green movement.
Our Editor’s Choice 2014 winners represent the most forward-thinking businesses and the brightest of thousands of industry leaders, experts and professionals dedicated to sustainable building in their everyday work.
Monoxivent: Improving air circulation and air quality for more than 60 years
By Jeanee Dudley, US Builders Review
Monoxivent was established in 1953 as a division of the Kent-More Corporation with a groundbreaking product line geared toward workplace safety ventilation. Six decades later, the company has become a leading provider of ventilation source capture solutions for a range of applications, most commonly used in commercial construction and HVAC.
In 2000, Crawford Company (CC), based in Rock Island, Illinois, purchased the business. CC is a large umbrella company with divisions that include HVAC, sheet metal, welding fabrication, laser-cutting, plumbing and brew tank manufacturing. In the years since CC purchased Monoxivent, the larger parent company has worked to promote the company’s products and practices for large- and small-scale applications all over the world.
Bob Frink, president of Monoxivent, works alongside a strong leadership team that includes Ian Frink and Jim Maynard, vice presidents. These executives work closely with dedicated managers, such as Jim Wischhusen, head of the company’s fiberglass reinforced plastic products (FRP) division. Wischhusen has been working with the company for five years and oversees engineering, design and production of the company’s durable FRP products.
A strong and growing product line
One of the company’s team’s leading product lines is UnderDuct by Monoxivent, which is made of fiberglass. The duct is typically buried underground and can withstand harsher conditions than traditional materials. Monoxivent introduced this line in 2007, although Wischhusen notes the technology has been around for decades. This product line has contributed to the success of several LEED-certified projects when incorporated with innovative ventilation system designs.
UnderDuct saves internal space and reduces the amount of construction materials necessary for installation. Because of its durability, the product does not need to be encased in concrete or sheltered inside a building. This ventilation product helps circulate air more efficiently than more traditional systems, saving major energy costs for building owners and occupants down the line. The International Code Council has approved UnderDuct for a range of applications.
Putting the technology to work
More than 1,500 linear feet of UnderDuct was installed at the Eastern Avenue Library project in Davenport, Iowa. The library qualified for LEED Silver certification and the facility’s air conditioning system uses 60 percent less power than what is typically used. This was achieved by basing the HVAC system design on displacement ventilation.
A few years after completion, the project has become the poster child for displacement ventilation. Whereas traditional mixed air ventilation supply duct is placed overhead, Monoxivent’s buried UnderDuct created the displacement ventilation effect by supplying conditioned air at a low elevation, which produces significant energy savings in cooling mode.
The library system in question built two identical branches a number of years apart designed by the same architect and with identical footprints and elevations. One branch utilized traditional mixed air ventilation technology, while the second branch employed the displacement ventilation model, making these facilities a great comparison example.
Another unique application has been the installation of UnderDuct for the Sydney Port Corporation Cruise Passenger Terminal at the White Bay 5 pier in Sydney, Australia.
“Our product was installed in a place that actually places the system under water every 12 hours during high tide,” says Wischhusen. “The installer had to excavate through solid rock to bury the duct. Contractors installed approximately 400 meters of 1.5-meter diameter double wall insulated duct.
The business also supplied materials for the Mercedes-Benz dealership in El Dorado, California. The dealership had more than 300 feet of double-wall UnderDuct installed. The underground installation created more open space in the facility. While Wischhusen says this was a run-of-the-mill job, with a simple supply and return duct system underground, the team was happy to help the dealership maintain a strong interior aesthetic. The building is sleek, ducts are hidden and the open, airy look remains intact.
Monoxivent’s FRP products have broad applications. As the product line continues to grow, the team is seeing opportunities open up in new arenas, while consistently improving on the products and applications available to clients. This state of constant self-improvement helped to keep the company out of hot water through the recession and continues to contribute to growth.
While the UnderDuct line is already ICC approved for HVAC applications as a supply and return duct, Monoxivent had the same line ICC approved for underground vehicle exhaust applications in November.
“This ties into other divisions here because that is what we make as well -source capture equipment,” Wischhusen explains. “For a vehicle maintenance facility, they have cars running time to time inside. Vehicle exhaust is bad for human health, so our products can capture it from the tailpipe and deliver it outside with a fan. Many facilities currently use overhead, hose reels and drops for this which Monoxivent manufactures, as well, but a fair amount of high-end dealerships are looking for underground vehicle exhaust systems. Ours is the only nonmetallic duct approved for this type of application and completes the entire vehicle exhaust package with Monoxivent’s underground vehicle exhaust equipment.”
As the product line grows, the business works to educate industry professionals on the many applications and benefits of Monoxivent products. In 2014, the crew attended the GreenBuild International Convention in New Orleans. The company has been involved with GreenBuild for several years. Wischhusen and his team take advantage of networking opportunities and take advantage of the connections made at the conference to spread the word about innovative ventilation. Looking ahead, the crew’s ability to build new relationships and provide consistent quality and innovation in brand products will keep Monoxivent growing.