Piedmont Innovates with Vertical Main Project


Although our natural gas business serves 1.6 million residential customers across its service territories, natural gas service in residential buildings such as apartments or condominiums is uncommon.

When the developer of City Lights in Nashville, Tennessee, approached Piedmont Natural Gas to bring natural gas service to its residents in a seven-story condominium complex, the company stepped up to the challenge.

“The growth in Nashville has been phenomenal over the past five years,” said Eddie Davidson, state government affairs director for Piedmont Natural Gas. “New buildings are being built taller and taller, requiring inventive natural gas solutions.”

While Piedmont is accustomed to burying pipelines – and running underground service lines to homes – delivering service vertically to homes dozens of feet off the ground requires a unique approach.

The Piedmont team engineered a “vertical main,” a natural gas line that runs upward through the entire building to a series of meter rooms, one on each floor. From these meter rooms, service lines run to the building’s 71 individual residences, as well as to an amenities area and restaurant space on the development’s first floor.

As with every project Piedmont undertakes, safety is the No. 1 priority. To ensure proper ventilation in the building, the team created a mechanical ventilation system from the first floor of the building to the roof where a fan runs continuously to draw air up and out of the building.

Because of its work on the City Lights project, Piedmont has the specifications in place to safely bring this innovative approach to other buildings, expanding the market of residential customers for the future.