The Jack Russell Memorial Library in Hartford, Wisconsin

The Jack Russell Memorial Library in Hartford, Wisconsin is a very large radiant heating and cooling project. When the building is completed, it will be a two story building with 35,000 square feet of space for the people of Hartford. Over nine miles of PEX radiant heating and cooling tubes run through the concrete flooring. Remarkably, only a few small boilers, and one large ice tank are needed to heat and cool the entire building. This "green" government building is set to be completed in late September of 2011. Here are pictures of the project as they construct this impressive building.

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Jack Russell Memorial Library diagrams and work schedule

Inside the trailer where the work schedule is planned week by week for construction of the Hartford, WI Library.

Radiant Heat Boiler

In the basement is where the radiant heat boilers are. This is one of the two boilers that help heat the entire building. It's amazing how small these boilers are, and they can heat all 35,000 square feet!

The hot water storage tank the basement of the Library. The tank is situated on the south side of the building to take advantage of any extra warmth.

The ice tank which is situated on the northern side of the building for added efficiency. This large ice water tank is only used to cool and freeze water during the night. This is done because energy is cheaper to use during these hours. During the day, the ice melts and this cool water is circulated throughout the floors.

Coils of Pex Radiant Tubing

Here are the large coils of PEX radiant tubing before they were installed.

PEX radiant flooring

Here is the PEX radiant tubing strapped down to the flooring. Later this was all embedded within the concrete floor. It is a silent and seamless way to heat and cool the building. Some of the people at the library are worried that it will be too quiet because a radiant heating and cooling system doesn't make any noise as the water flows through the tubing. Imagine that! Too quiet in a library.

Window Radiator

Radiant heat is placed just below each window to prevent any condensation from forming. The heat flows up from below each window pane.


Several infrared thermostats are positioned throughout the building to keep the temperature even throughout the entire building. If the south side of the building is getting heat from natural sunlight, the thermostats will automatically stop the flow of hot water here and divert it to the northern side of the building. No matter where you are in the building, it should stay at an even and very comfortable temperature.


More pipes that are flowing into the floor of the second story of the Jack Russell Memorial Library.

Skylights in the Hartford, WI Library

The second floor of the Library. Skylights let in natural light to reduce the amount of energy needed to light up the inside of the building. The concrete floor is where heat and cool energy flows from. This also is efficient because the people are in direct contact with the floor. Radiant heat is much more comfortable than forced air because the floor is warm too in addition to the air.

View from the North Deck

This is where I will be reading when I get the chance. On the North side of the building, there will be a small outdoor deck which looks towards the Hartford, WI mill pond. Right by that foot bridge is dam and small waterfall. I love the calming noise of the water running over the dam and into the Rubicon River.

South Deck

On the South side of the building is a larger deck. You can take advantage of the bright sunlight and relax here too.

There are so many different elements that have been incorporated into this energy efficient government building. I will post more pictures as the building gets completed. Special thanks to the lead architect Mike Bahr from Plunkett Raysich Architects for giving me a tour and explaining how everything works. Also thanks to the construction crew from J. P. Cullen & Sons, Inc. for allowing me to take pictures as they worked.

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- Written by David Tiefenthaler

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