The Gas Research Institute (GRI) is funding research to investigate alternative gas piping technologies which can make gas service as easy to install as electric service. The semirigid tubing systems being evaluated are soft copper tubing and a Japanese product, corrugated stainless steel tubing (CSST). Both use mechanical fittings and are designed to operate using either traditional low pressure (8 in. of water column (WC)) or a special hybrid pressure (2 psi and 8 in. WC) approach. This research has been conducted at several different single family and multifamily buildings located throughout the United States.
Results from these sites indicate that regardless of the building type, semirigid tubing systems can be installed in less time and usually at lower cost than conventional steel pipe systems. The labor savings vary between 30 and 70 percent, while the cost savings vary between 10 and 50 percent. The use of these semirigid tubing systems also makes a decentralized gas distribution system more viable.