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An Extraordinary Retrofit for The Standard Building

The Standard Building, Potable water, HVAC
Products Used
Aquatherm Blue Pipe® Aquatherm Green Pipe®
Location / Date
April 2016 - December 2017

Aquatherm Advantages

  • The Aquatherm piping system offered a clean, budget-conscious solution for the Standard Building, with a total material and cost savings of $250,000 compared to steel pipe
  • Aquatherm’s lightweight pipe increased the productivity of the team of 20 installers

The Challenge

Converting an office building built in 1924 into 281 apartments, including new potable water and HVAC piping

The Solution

The light weight and ease of use of Aquatherm pipe allowed the pipe to be transported to the top floor where it was fused, and then lowered down the building through the stacked mechanical rooms


The 20-story, terra cotta Standard Building has graced the cityscape of downtown Cleveland, OH, since 1924. Constructed by The Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers — the oldest union in the nation — the Standard Building was their Cooperative National Bank Building.

Throughout most of its long life, the Standard Building functioned admirably as an office building in a prime downtown location. Today, the urban trend of office-to-apartment conversions is transforming the business districts of many cities, including Cleveland’s. Weston Inc., the building’s owners, knew the time was right to capitalize on that trend and convert the Standard Building into a completely renovated, 281-unit luxury apartment building.

Begun in April 2016 and completed in December 2017, part of the Standard Building renovation features two revamped piping systems: one for potable water and one for the new comfort system, which includes 290 WaterFurnace water-source heat pumps.

For Lee Tucker, Project Manager, Marous Brothers Construction, the company’s Design/Assist approach at the Standard Building was to “go with what you know.”

“We budgeted the project and negotiated the contract based on what we felt comfortable with,” said Tucker.

“We generally are not early adopters of new products unless we do extensive research. We explored the use of Aquatherm with the mechanical engineer and visited another project of similar size and interviewed the employees of the installing mechanical contractor. After our research, we felt comfortable with using Aquatherm.”

Ultimately, more than 8,300 ft of Aquatherm polypropylene-random (PP-R) piping — ranging from ¾- in. to 12-in. — and more than 800 fittings were used on this project.


The Standard Building project incorporates Aquatherm Green Pipe® for the building’s potable water applications and Aquatherm Blue Pipe® for its HVAC applications.

Aquatherm Blue Pipe is ideal for HVAC applications, offering longevity and consistent performance. It is hydrophobic, which means it will not corrode or scale over time.

Aquatherm Green Pipe is chemically inert and is potable water (NSF 61) and food safety (NSF 51) rated. It will not leach, corrode, or erode. In addition, the heat fusion method of joining Aquatherm pipe does not create any VOCs and does not introduce any lead or other toxic materials into the system. Nor does it involve any open flame or hot work permit as does welding carbon steel.

Aquatherm Blue Pipe and Green Pipe are both available with optional multi-layer faser-composite (MF) which allows the pipe to remain rigid at high temperatures and significantly reduces linear expansion. The MF extrusion process creates a middle layer in the pipe that is a mixture of glass fibers and Aquatherm’s proprietary fusiolen. Along with the benefit of reduced expansion, Aquatherm MF pipes are still flexible, and require fewer and smaller expansion controls.