Archive for the ‘Project Profile’ Category.

June 14, 2017, 9:00 am

Project Profile: Primrose School of South Tampa

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Primrose Schools provide early childhood education at over 300 franchised locations across the country. One Florida location – the Primrose School of South Tampa, serving students from six weeks old to first grade – stands out as a feat of engineering and construction. Our Variable Refrigerant Flow (VRF) technology is a big part of that showcase, and has helped the school earn LEED® Silver certification alongside impressive energy savings.

This project was particularly interesting because of its urban location, which meant the selected HVAC system required a small footprint and a flexible, easy installation. Rick Radtke, who co-owns this and two other Primrose Schools with his wife, said, “A traditional Primrose has a condenser farm on the grounds, but I needed that space for playgrounds. With VRF, I could build a roof well – get all of the condensers up on the roof in a very small space.”

Mark Pavey, AIA, principal architect, Children’s Design Group, Gulf Shores, Alabama, hadn’t previously worked with VRF, but was impressed by the idea. “It seemed like a good technology for energy savings, and the ability to vary the output of the units to match the demand made it very attractive.”

Since installation, the project team is confident in their decisions. Pavey said, “The indoor air quality at this school is excellent. In a split system, you have to condition to the maximum load. With this system you match the load to the capacity; it’s a huge advantage for controlling humidity.” Radtke is also pleased with the school’s energy consumption. “I’ve built two other Primroses. This one is twice as big but my electricity bill runs about 20 percent less than the other two schools combined!”

To read more about why Radtke is “just absolutely in love with the system,” check out the case study here.

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May 31, 2017, 9:00 am

Project Profile: Ishpeming Housing Commission

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Over the last few years, the average age of residents at the Ishpeming Housing Commission has increased. Residents of this 88-unit, 67,750-square-foot apartment building in Ishpeming, Michigan, used to move in during their 60s and 70s. Now, they move in during their 80s and 90s. The older residents required better indoor air quality, so a recent renovation was needed to bring modern-day air conditioning to the 1960s facility. Our Variable Refrigerant Flow (VRF) technology was selected for its easy installation and reliable comfort.

Evelyn Valente-Heikkila, the facility’s executive director/manager, noted, “the people living here now have a lot of breathing problems. The last few summers have gotten very humid, and when it’s so hot and humid, ceiling fans just do not do the job. Our residents can’t breathe.” With the need for cooling and healthy air established, the search for a solution began.

Traditional technology was not an option. “Each apartment is basically a concrete cubicle, so plumbing for a/c would have been very difficult,” said Valente-Heikkila. Window units were nixed for their aesthetics. Then Valente-Heikkila saw a TV ad for zoned technology. She went online, did some research, and was amazed to discover how well VRF would solve her challenge.

After a quick installation, the system was up and running. Valente-Heikkila said, “We’ve been very satisfied and the residents were so happy to get air conditioning. I haven’t found one resident who doesn’t like it!”

To read more about the project’s easy and effective installation, check out the case study here.

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May 17, 2017, 9:00 am

Project Profile: Raising Cane’s Treehouse

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In Baton Rouge, Louisiana, there is now a 1,200-square-foot, three-story treehouse that is perfectly cooled and heated year-round. It’s such a marvel that it was featured on Animal Planet’s “Treehouse Masters.” We are, to put it lightly, excited about our Zoned Comfort Solutions being selected for this project. It’s not every day we get to talk about treehouses!

Todd Graves is the owner of the treehouse – and is also the founder, CEO, fry cook and cashier of Raising Cane’s Chicken Fingers, Baton Rouge. When picturing his future treehouse, Graves said he wanted “an escape from our everyday chaotic lives . . . a space we could use year-round to entertain our friends and our kids.” The ‘year-round’ part is no small feat in Louisiana, where Graves said, “we often have 100 percent humidity.” The treehouse needed an HVAC system that could provide comfort throughout the seasons, and that would match the space’s rustic but modern and clean aesthetic.

Our Zoned Comfort Solutions did the trick, and Graves said the family spends a lot of time enjoying the treehouse as a result. “The units don’t take up a lot of space and they’re really quiet – we really didn’t want something loud! … Ultimately they’re functioning very well for us, and we’re so happy with the whole treehouse.”

To read more about how our technology cools and heats such a unique space, check out the case study here.

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May 3, 2017, 9:00 am

Project Profile: New York LEED Home

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Hurricane Sandy made landfall October 2012, damaging or destroying hundreds of thousands of homes. One of those homes was a 1940s cottage that belonged to Kim Erle, LEED® AP, founder and president, Sunset Green Home, LLC, New York. When it came time to rebuild, Erle didn’t set out to build a new home, she set out to build the coastal home of the future – a highly efficient, resilient house that would stand up to storms and serve as a model for responsible building practices. The HVAC system up to the challenge was none other than our Zoned Comfort Solutions™.

It was a decision the whole project team agreed on. Rich Manning, owner, Energy Master LI Building Consultants, Hauppauge, New York, served as the project’s energy specialist. He said with zoned technology, “you can have individualized comfort, and there won’t be a duct issue because the mini-splits would have short ductwork from the attic.” From Doug Matz’s perspective, serving as the owner of Flanders Heating & Air Conditioning, Riverhead, New York, going with Zoned Comfort Solutions meant reliability. He said, “Mitsubishi [Electric] has been in the U.S. for decades . . . They have a reputation of being the best, and their service support and engineering support are second to none.” And for Erle, our Zoned Comfort Solutions meant assurance and practicality: “We really like the idea of multi-zone. It allows us to capture more efficiency despite the house’s occupancy varying greatly.”

From here, Erle filed for LEED® Platinum certification. She’s also thought a lot about how comforting it is to be in a home that will not just stand up to the weather but do so efficiently and sustainably. Luckily, she selected the right equipment for the job.

To read more about the New York LEED Home project, check out the case study here.

April 12, 2017, 9:00 am

Project Profile: J.L. Young Apartment Community

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The J.L. Young Apartment Community (J.L. Young), Tampa, Florida, is a 23,000-square-foot facility that has been in operation since the 1970s and accommodates elderly residents. After many decades trying to solve a moisture issue, the owner, Tampa Housing Authority (THA), Tampa, knew that action had to be taken before occupants began to vacate and the facility deteriorated entirely. That action took the form of selecting our Zoned Comfort Solutions™ for the facility.

Mary Fox, formerly THA’s director of energy services, said, “The building had moisture issues causing mildew within the units. This was a liability for the THA because of indoor air quality concerns, which could trigger legal action from the residents.”

To avoid any potential legal action, the selection of a new system began. THA agreed that central air and ductwork were not feasible for the facility, but they believed zoned technology would be a perfect fit because of its easy installation and operation and ability to provide occupants with immediate comfort. “Mitsubishi [Electric] was the only brand with dehumidification. The units actually take the humidity out of the air, so with the Mitsubishi [Electric] units, we knew we wouldn’t be making the residents uncomfortable as we would with standard air conditioning, but we could still bring down the humidity. This resulted in a win-win for everyone,” said Fox.

Since installing zoned technology, J.L Young has saved almost $100,000 in energy bills, and the residents not only seem to be happier but even more comfortable in their homes. To read more about J.L. Young Apartment community, check out the case study here.

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April 3, 2017, 9:00 am

Project Profile: Westmoreland and Pastore Home

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When homeowner Lauren Westmoreland and her husband, Nick Pastore, purchased a two-unit duplex in Atlanta, they knew they had a significant project on their hands. Not only did they want to combine the two separate units into a single-family home, but they also had to meet strict Georgia energy codes. This meant the couple needed to find energy-saving products for their home, including a new cooling and heating system. But this was easy for Westmoreland because she was already familiar with the performance capabilities of our Zoned Comfort Solutions.

The renovation began with planning out the new space – a 1,200-square-foot home featuring energy-efficient and low-maintenance products. When it came to selecting a cooling and heating system, Westmoreland wanted to make use of each square foot in her house and decided ductwork was not an option. “We compared ductless mini-splits to a traditional, ducted heat pump. With the mini-splits, I gained at least 1,000 square feet of storage [space] that I otherwise wouldn’t have had access to. We have the washer and dryer in the basement, for example – something I couldn’t have done had we gone with a traditional system.”

With the selection of zoned technology, Westmoreland immediately chose our Zoned Comfort Solutions and proceeded with installation. Since completion of the project, the couple has noticed pleasingly low energy bills, averaging around $72 a month in comparison to an average Georgia resident who pays $172. Westmoreland said, “For eight to nine months a year my total electricity bill is $1 to $2 a day. People say, ‘You just don’t run the HVAC then.’ No, I do. I run it as much as anyone else does.”

To read more about how Westmoreland and Pastore saved money on energy bills, check out the case study here.

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March 23, 2017, 9:00 am

Project Profile: Burton Center for Arts & Technology

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The Burton Center for Arts & Technology (BCAT), Salem, Virginia, serves almost 800 students. At BCAT, students can take classes on a wide variety of topics, such as automotive technology, computer information technology, culinary arts and cosmetology.

When the school’s old HVAC systems needed replacing, BCAT selected our Variable Refrigerant Flow (VRF) technology to ensure comfort and efficiency for its students and faculty.

Melinda Ruble, president, MDR Engineering, Roanoke, Virginia, had the challenge to design a new HVAC system for BCAT. “The old boiler was entering the end of its useful life. The school also wanted cooling; some of the school was air conditioned by window units, but in some places, there was no a/c at all. The county is really energy conscious and had made a big push for energy efficient designs, so the eventual HVAC system’s energy efficiency came into play.”

After exploring various technologies, Ruble believed VRF could meet the demands of the county in addition to the needs of the school. She said, “Geothermal was too expensive and there was no space for wells. VRF, though, could be as energy-efficient as geothermal, but without the expense.” The school agreed with Ruble’s suggestion.

With VRF decided on, the school selected Mitsubishi Electric as the brand of choice. Ruble said, “Mitsubishi [Electric] requires certification programs of its contractors, making for a better install. I’ve had much greater success with Mitsubishi [Electric] than other manufacturers.”

The school chose to use VRF in key areas to take advantage of its benefits. “We put VRF, for example, in places with multiple offices where individual comfort was most important. From there, we could then piggyback on the system to get some extra classrooms,” said Ruble.

Since installation, the new HVAC system not only has improved the learning environment for everyone at BCAT, but has made it a comfortable one. To read more about BCAT, check out the full case study here.

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March 9, 2017, 9:00 am

Project Profile: The Covenant School

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The Covenant School was founded 30 years ago in Charlottesville, Virginia. The lower school, for students in pre-K through 6th grade, is located in a 65,000-square-foot historic brick building dating back to 1935. With almost 300 students, faculty and staff members, the school needs to operate seamlessly so when the old boiler system started to fail, it needed to find a new heating system as soon as possible. The Covenant School selected our Variable Refrigerant Flow (VRF) technology to answer that need, providing zone control, air filtration and the added bonus of cooling.

To find a suitable system, the school called in Jay Taggart, school board member and the President of W.E. Brown, Charlottesville – the project’s installing contractor. Taggart compared two systems – a water-based chiller and VRF – and made a recommendation to the school. He said, “Everyone agreed that ductwork couldn’t happen, and we were worried the roof couldn’t handle the weight of a chiller, so we came in with a CITY MULTI® solution. With CITY MULTI, there wouldn’t be nearly as much equipment on the roof as a water-based solution, making VRF significantly lighter. Also, CITY MULTI offered simultaneous heating and cooling in a real way because of the heat recovery, and a more detailed level of zoning. And because refrigerant piping is smaller than water piping, VRF offered a more compact solution.”

Installation proceeded during the summer while the students were away, ensuring an easy process for the project team and school. Since the completion of the project, the school has seen improvement in comfort and health. Taggart said, “This is the first time the building has ever been fully air conditioned or had air filtration, so the air quality has gone up drastically. Many teachers say they’ve noticed an impact on their health: fewer allergies and colds.”

Between the improved indoor air quality and increase in control, The Covenant School can now offer a comfortable learning environment for its students and teachers year-round. To read more about The Covenant School, check out the case study here.

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February 23, 2017, 9:00 am

Project Profile: Fogo de Chão

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In recent years, Fogo de Chão® (Fogo), the famous Brazilian steakhouse, headquartered in Dallas, Texas, opened a New York City location directly across the street from the Museum of Modern Art, on W. 53rd St. between 5th and 6th Avenues. For its HVAC needs, Fogo selected our Variable Refrigerant Flow (VRF) zoning technology to ensure that guests remain comfortable while dining. Our technology offered the company cost savings over the chilled water system that was originally specified.

The original HVAC design, a water plant on the roof, posed issues of code-compliance, cost and unsightly ductwork for Fogo. The HVAC contractor on the job, Stanley Berger, CEO, Arista Air Conditioning Corp., Queens, New York, proposed VRF as the solution to avoid any issues and to offer the restaurant cost savings. Berger said, “VRF’s simultaneous cooling and heating capability means you can have heat coming from one handler, cooling from another – any combination you want. There’s tremendous energy savings to that.”

Following Berger’s proposition to use VRF, Fogo did an energy analysis to see how the technology would perform in comparison to the chilled water system. VRF dropped the current load by 300 amps, offering tremendous cost savings. However, Fogo was still curious about VRF’s operation, and was unsure if zoning would work well for the restaurant. After seeing VRF in action at multiple installation sites across New York City, Fogo was convinced.

Since installation, VRF has worked tremendously in the new location. It has allowed Fogo to take advantage of the cost savings and to offer complete comfort for dining guests.

To read more about Fogo de Chão’s success with VRF, check out the full case study here.

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February 7, 2017, 9:00 am

Project Profile: R.J. Reynolds Building

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Photos provided by Comfort Supply, Inc.

For 80 years, the historic R.J. Reynolds Building in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, served as the corporate headquarters for The R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company, a subsidary of Reynolds America, Inc. In 2009, when Reynolds America relocated offices, the building went up for sale. But in 2014, the building gained new owners. PMC Property Group, Philadelphia, and Kimpton Hotels & Restaurant Group, San Francisco, purchased the building with the plan to offer a boutqiue hotel and luxury apartments to visitors and/or future residents of Winston-Salem.

A challenge of the Reynolds Building’s restoration was replacing the outdated HVAC system with a modern, energy-efficient system that could meet the building’s needs. The building needed an unobtrusive and whisper-quiet system while providing tenants with individual control. The mechanical contractor on the job, First State Mechanical, Boothwyn, Pennsylvania, knew Mitsubishi Electric Variable Refrigerant Flow (VRF) technology was the only solution because of its flexibility in design and installation, and because it would not cause any damage to the building’s architecture.

With technical assistance from Comfort Supply, Inc., Pittsburgh, the project team easily installed 84 outdoor units and 425 indoor units, providing the building with a maximum capacity of 5.8 million Btus. In addition to the mechanical equipment, the Reynolds Building was also outfitted with superior controls to keep its tenants comfortable year-round. For the hotel side, specifically, the building system operators have front-end control of the entire building’s HVAC system by using our Diamond Controls™. However, nearly all rooms within the apartments and hotel utilize SmartME Remote Controllers, which allows the building to conserve energy.

Through the renovation, the Reynolds Building has been given new purpose, serving as one of the greatest places to stay or live in Winston-Salem. Once again, our VRF has proven itself to be an effective cooling and heating solution in historic renovations.

To learn more about the Reynolds Building restoration, read the case study provided by Comfort Supply, Inc. here.

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