There is little debate IF the incorporation of tiered seating into your theatre, auditorium, balcony, church, worship facility, sanctuary or lecture hall seating design is something that enhances the experience of your audience. The question today is HOW architects and builders should best apply "sustainable design principals" into the design and construction process for this component of the building. Until recently, compacted dirt fill; structural steel; precast concrete or structural light gauge metal framing were the only methods of constructing tiered stadium seating risers in assembly spaces. Today there is a relatively new and innovative approach to constructing the tiered seating risers that is not only more efficient and economical than the traditional methods; it is an environmentally responsible, "Green" solution that uses recyclable material as the "building blocks" for the tiered seating risers.
This section addresses one aspect of modern day stadium seating riser system design and construction; the design and selection of the most environmentally friendly tiered stadium seating system available today. This innovative SSE PREFoam EPS Geofoam Stadium Seating Riser System uses Expanded Polystyrene (EPS) foam blocks as the structural fill material to support the tiered seating platforms. The foam blocks are easily factory and field-cut for installation in virtually any configuration necessary and provide excellent acoustic quality, and, more importantly, the use of EPS Geofoam in the PREFoam stadium seating system as well as its use as an insulation material in the overall construction of the building meets many of the criteria necessary for LEED certification. For the tiered seating risers, it is similar to stacking "Lego type" blocks made of EPS Geofoam to form the tiered seating platforms.
The SSE PREFoam
Stadium Seating System &
Sustainable Building Practices
SSE is one of the leading companies in the design and construction industry that has taken a fresh approach to protecting the build environment and employing sustainable building practices. Over the past few years, the design and construction professions have turned their focus to the "Greening of America." Designers, Architects, Contractors and Material Suppliers have taken on the challenge of determining how to build and furnish building’s interiors with materials that are:
Made with Recyclable Material
And Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions
The U.S. Green Building Council has developed a nationally accepted system to rate the design, construction and operations of buildings. The USGBC’s leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) is a standard that recognizes the life-cycle cost of construction and helps guide the performance of projects. The LEED rating system allows owners to acquire credits by meeting certain conditions pertaining to the use of sustainable, energy efficient and environmentally friendly products and systems.
The use of SSE PREFoam EPS Geofoam in design and construction of stadium seating for theatres, auditoriums, balconies, churches, worship facilities, lecture halls, live entertainment venues, and sanctuary seating addresses each of these criteria and provides a product that is both environmentally responsible and a cost efficient solution to installation of tiered stadium seating riser systems.
- EPS Geofoam manufacturing uses minimal energy and creates nominal pollution. Steam is the primary component in the manufacturing process of EPS and the water from this process is collected and reused numerous times.
- With hundreds of manufacturing facilities throughout North America, EPS Geofoam is manufactured in close proximity to most building projects minimizing the distribution radius.
- Because EPS Geofoam is very light-weight, transportation costs are minimized.
with Recycled Material
- EPS Geofoam building products can be made with recycled material content. In 2004 more than 57 million pounds of EPS was recycled.
- Tiered stadium seating systems are typically made with approximately 10% recycled content.
- At the end of a building’s useful life, tiered stadium seating systems constructed with SSE PREFoam EPS Geofoam fill material can easily be removed and recycled. More than 90% of the material in an EPS tiered stadium seating system is comprised of recyclable EPS foam block material.
- EPS Geofoam does not contain harmful formaldehydes, CFC's or HCFC's. The American Lung Association’s Health House guideline acknowledges that EPS is a safe material for insulation and structural support in construction.
- EPS Geofoam has a high degree of resistance to moisture absorption controlling humidity and air infiltration thus reducing the development of mold.
- The use of SSE PREFoam EPS Geofoam in tiered stadium seating design reduces vibration, reverberation and virtually eliminates "drumming" associated with deep base in musical performances. By minimizing audio interference and feedback, speakers are more easily heard and understood in large auditorium spaces.
- According to the U.S. Green Building Council, using EPS Geofoam in building construction helps reduce energy consumption.
- SSE PREFoam EPS foam blocks for tiered stadium seating systems can be placed directly on compacted fill, thus eliminating the need for a concrete slab under the stadium seating risers. Because of the characteristics of EPS, it minimizes thermal transfer, inhibits mold growth, and is resistant to insects.
Reduces Green House
- EPS Geofoam unlike Extruded Polystyrene (XEPS) has never utilized any greenhouse gases in the manufacturing process and the manufacturing process itself does not result in emissions of greenhouse gases.
In addition to the energy and environmental benefits inherent in the use of EPS Geofoam there are a large number of efficiencies that can be realized using the PREFoam EPS System as a construction solution for tiered stadium seating.
One of the distinct advantages of a PREFoam tiered seating riser system is the fact that it is pre-engineered, custom prefabricated and delivered to the site ready to be installed late in the construction sequence; following the stud and drywall completion of the auditorium’s demising, back and side rake walls. Because the general contractor can work on a floor unencumbered by scaffolding, the ability to get the auditorium "tiered seating ready" proceeds much more efficiently than was previously realized using traditional methods of constructing tiered stadium seating platforms.
In a typical installation, ninety percent of the PREFoam EPS foam block is delivered to the project site precut to the dimensions of the seating risers including any necessary ramps and landings. Consistent with the supplier’s shop drawings, foam blocks are pre-marked for direct placement on the auditorium floor. Each of the PREFoam EPS foam blocks is marked by area designation, platform level, row and block location in each row of the tiered stadium riser system.
By the afternoon of the first or second day of installation, typically the work crew is busy installing the gauge metal steel riser plates and connecting strap hardware. The riser plates not only serve to finish the face of the PREFoam platform riser, but also serve as a form for pouring the 4" horizontal concrete platform deck. They are held securely in place with connecting straps placed every 30" on-center.
Once the gauge metal steel risers and the connecting hardware are in place, the intermediate step forms are attached to the face of the risers to complete the platform assembly. At that point, the platform is ready for the one continuous concrete pour of the horizontal platform surface. This approach will typically save weeks off the installation schedule and reduce overall costs by as much as 15-20% compared to traditional methods.
The incorporation of a PREFoam EPS Geofoam System is not only more cost efficient, but also an environmentally responsible, sustainable, "green" approach to design and construction of tiered stadium seating risers.
EPS Molders Association
"EPS Recycling," "Improved Indoor
Environmental Quality," "EPS Green Building
"The Green Choice" and "Insulfoam and LEED."