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A challenge of the Reynolds Building’s restoration was replacing the outdated HVAC system with a modern, energy-efficient system that could meet the building’s needs.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.
A few years ago, Dan Gainsboro, founder and principal of NOW Communities, LLC, Concord, Massachusetts, built the award-winning community of Concord Riverwalk. The West Concord, Massachusetts, development consists of 13 Zero Energy Ready Homes.
While planning the development, Gainsboro faced his largest challenge ‒ finding a system that would cool and heat the homes in an unpredictable climate while also offering impressive energy efficiency. With research and expertise from ZeroEnergy Design, Boston, Gainsboro knew our Zoned Comfort Solutions™ would keep these houses comfortable and efficient even in New England’s icy winter weather.
Gainsboro said, “Japanese-designed mini-splits are just bulletproof. They require little maintenance and are reliable. And the efficiencies!” Gainsboro also noted how year-round performance was a big consideration in the selection process. He continued, “I’ve had good luck with Mitsubishi [Electric] in the past; they’re a bit ahead of the others in terms of addressing concerns related to heating.”
Since project completion, Concord Riverwalk has received media attention across the building industry, applauding its innovative concept and exceptional performance. According to Gainsboro, the residents have also been extremely pleased, especially with their homes’ comfort and low energy costs. Gainsboro said, “I think people are generally pretty satisfied with the return-on-investment for their high-performance home. I believe one resident’s daily electricity is 25 cents a day!”
To read more about Concord Riverwalk, check out the full case study here.
It’s the start of a new year which means school is back in session. That means it’s perfect timing to read our latest white paper, which discusses how to face HVAC challenges that may affect in K-12 educational facilities. Often HVAC challenges in the educational environment involve occupant comfort and air control. Other concerns to K-12 educational facilities, though, include: stringent air quality requirements (especially pertaining to ventilation), the need for low noise levels, a variety of comfort needs to meet a variety of spaces and occupants, and a preference for simple maintenance.
Our white paper explains why Variable Refrigerant Flow (VRF) zoning technology is a smart solution for these challenges. It highlights how VRF offers industry-leading efficiencies, integration with ventilation systems, advanced filtration systems, whisper-quiet operation and year-round performance. This white paper explains to readers how solutions are possible with VRF and addresses any misconceptions about the technology.
Click here to read the entire K-12 Educational Facilities white paper.
When Jenny and Aaron Stash wanted to settle down in Northbrook, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago, they searched for a house that would meet their requirements. For the Stashes, that meant sustainability, high indoor air quality and energy efficiency. After an unsuccessful search, the Stashes decided to build a home of their own. They carefully designed and built a three-floor, 3,500-square-foot house and incorporated many sustainable elements into its architecture. The Stashes outfitted the home with bamboo flooring, fiber-cement siding, LED lighting and one of our extremely energy-efficient cooling and heating systems.
The Stashes called in Michael S. Kollman, AIA, LEED AP and the president of SmartHaus, Inc., Prairie View, Illinois, a high-performance home design-build company, to find an HVAC system. The selected system would need to provide year-round comfort and be energy-efficient. Kollman worked with two University of Illinois engineers to find an answer for the house. The result: our Zoned Comfort Solutions™.
Kollman said, “Mini-split heat pumps with a conditioned energy recovery ventilation system would give us all the features we wanted and the highest-obtainable indoor air quality. We also looked at geothermal, radiant and forced air systems, but because the envelope is so efficient we just didn’t need a tremendous amount of energy. Mini-splits were the perfect solution.”
The Stashes’ home qualified for LEED® Platinum certification thanks, in part, to our system’s ability to reduce distribution losses and optimize energy. In addition to helping achieve LEED certification, our system also allowed the Stashes to see a great reduction in energy usage. Compared to other houses in Illinois, the Stashes’ home uses just one-quarter of the energy each month!
To read more about the Stashes’ LEED-certified home and how it saves energy all year round, check out the full case study.
We are pleased to announce that our PremiSys® Fusion Dedicated Outside Air System has received industry recognition for its innovation.
Two publications, School Planning & Management and College Planning & Management, jointly hosted the 2016 New Product of the Year Award program. PremiSys Fusion took home the Gold Award in each publication’s HVAC category.
The New Product of the Year award program honors outstanding products and services from manufacturers and suppliers that enhance the learning environment. An independent panel of judges from the education community selected winners in the second year of this contest.
At Mitsubishi Electric, we pride ourselves on our thought leadership and this award win reinforces our product innovation. If you would like to read more about our achievement, check out the announcement.
To this point, the latest McGraw-Hill Construction report on new and remodeled green homes found that energy-efficient appliances are some of the first things homebuyers look for in a new house — second only to having enough square footage to live comfortably. This was true for both millennials and baby boomers — two generations poised to purchase homes in great numbers.
Why do homebuyers look for energy-efficient appliances? To save on monthly costs and anything related to maintenance. It’s common knowledge that HVAC systems account for a significant portion of monthly energy costs, so many homebuyers think of these systems first. In the latest study by the National Association of Realtors, homebuyers were asked to rank which features are most important to them in their new house. Respondents said HVAC systems were the number one essential feature when it comes to environment.
It’s no surprise the appetite for energy-efficient appliances and the concern over HVAC energy costs has resulted in strong and ever-increasing consumer demand for energy-efficient HVAC. Countless studies and surveys are concluding this very same thing — some looking at demand, others at supply. One example is Navigant Research’s recent report showing that annual revenue from energy-efficient HVAC systems will almost double in the next 15 years, growing to $33.2 billion by 2020.
For builders, the focus on energy-efficient appliances — and energy-efficient HVAC in particular — is an incredible opportunity. If homebuyers are looking for appliances from trusted, well-known brands, builders can feature these products. If buyers are searching out green-certified homes, builders can embark on green projects. This seems to be a time of “if you build it, they will come.” And, even more so, “if you build it energy-efficient, they will buy.”
If you want to learn more about why homebuyers want efficient products in their homes, check out our Builder newsletter.