Northwestern Mutual receives new under-floor HVAC system.

OAK CREEK, Wis. - The Grunau Co. recently completed work on an under-floor heating, ventilation and air- conditioning system for insurer Northwestern Mutual's Franklin campus. The installation is the first phase of a $125 million project that also included the completion of the plumbing and specialty metal work for the company.

"We worked closely with Northwestern Mutual, the engineer and the general construction manager to ensure the highest quality of work and to maintain the sophistication and integrity of the building," said Paul Grunau, company president.

Northwestern Mutual identified the under-floor HVAC system as part of its strategy to create a more efficient and cost-effective facility. An under-floor system places the heating and cooling vents under a raised floor instead of above the ceiling. This type of system allows individuals to control the climate at their desks.

Another benefit of the under-floor system is that less ductwork is needed, which can potentially reduce floor-to-floor height, creating a shorter building and reducing hard-construction material costs such as steel and glass.

"The under-floor system was one of the things which Grunau Co. felt particularly responsible," said Jeff Kuhnke, Grunau project manager. "We spent a lot of time learning how to best do our job. We took it upon ourselves to help coordinate the other trades' work with the system."