June 14, 2017, 9:00 am Filed Under: Project Profile

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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June 7, 2017, 9:00 am Filed Under: Industry News

The Rise of Livable Communities

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For years now, builders have been focused on the aging population and their housing needs. That’s a wise move. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, by 2050 there will be an estimated 88.5 million Americans over the age of 65 and 19 million over the age of 85. The sheer size of this group has created demands that builders have worked hard to meet. An additional challenge is how this population’s demands have shifted and evolved over the years.

One shift was revealed by a recent AARP Public Policy Institute survey. Many survey respondents expressed a desire for their home to be in a “livable community.” Livable communities are designed to be safe and vibrant environments that address issues such as land use, housing and transportation ‒ all relevant to aging in place. Typically, these environments allow the elderly to access public transportation, retail stores and even green spaces.

The actual homes within a livable community speak to these same needs. To keep their housing convenient, cost-friendly and worry-free, this generation asks for compact, maintenance-free spaces. This is where selecting smart cooling and heating solutions can make a difference. Certain mechanical systems offer a smaller footprint, increased energy efficiency and user-friendliness for this population.

Livable communities by definition are more than houses or apartments; they include commercial spaces like grocery stores, retail and restaurants. Builders may not be responsible for the design and construction of these commercial spaces, but may have the opportunity to partner with other professionals who are responsible. Ideally, these partners will share the builder’s vision of creating truly livable communities. That collaboration and synergy will produce the communities of the future.

Here at Mitsubishi Electric, we want to support builders’ plans for these vibrant, livable communities. On our webpages, you’ll learn about our smart, flexible technologies that support this important work.

To read more about building livable communities, check out the most recent Builder newsletter here.

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May 31, 2017, 9:00 am Filed Under: Project Profile

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 29, 2017, 9:00 am Filed Under: Holiday

Remembering Our Fallen Heroes

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May 24, 2017, 9:00 am Filed Under: Corporate News

Working With The Next Generation of Building Scientists

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From April 22 ‒ May 2, we were able to dedicate our time and expertise to college students who share the same passion as we do: building science.

As a sponsor of the U.S Department of Energy’s (DOE) Race to Zero Student Design Competition, we worked side-by-side with students to help inspire them to become the next generation of building science professionals, through designing affordable yet sustainable homes.

The DOE’s Race to Zero Student Design Competition is an annual competition that challenges future architects, engineers, construction managers and entrepreneurs. The competition allows students to gain the skills and experience they need to start careers in building science, while rewarding them for inventing solutions to current real-world problems.

During a time where cost-effective, high-performing homes are becoming not only popular but also indispensable, we are honored that we could contribute to a competition that cares deeply about educating students about the importance of energy-efficient home design.

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May 17, 2017, 9:00 am Filed Under: Project Profile

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.

May 10, 2017, 9:00 am Filed Under: Industry News

In Our Ever-changing World of Design, What’s Next?

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We have all seen how buildings change with the times. When there are more cars, more parking garages are created. As people move back into cities, mixed-use developments soar. As a new building material or mechanical system becomes popular, the industry quickly adopts it. The perennial question, then, is: What’s next?

In 2017, a recognizable answer is 3D-printed buildings. We’ve previously discussed how the industry has been excited about buildings that can be created at any time in any place. Another increasingly recognizable idea we’ve covered is green retrofitting – the practice of renovating old properties to be green instead of tearing them down and building new.

From here, it seems the industry is becoming more playful and resourceful. Dutch company Wikkelhouse makes fully functional homes out of 24 layers of cardboard wrapped around a mold. The houses are designed to last at least 50 years and are fully customizable.

Meanwhile, architects like Italy’s Stefano Boeri are designing “vertical forests.” These tall buildings feature ample trees and bushes; they’re planted on every floor, on all sides of the building. The idea is to improve air quality and tackle urban sprawl.

Here in the U.S., we’re also seeing a trend toward doing more with less. New York City recently received its first micro-unit apartment building, with units as small as 260 square feet. Washington, D.C., recently got its first pod hotel. The spaces are designed to be minimalist, but still livable and satisfying.

From an HVAC perspective, we’re curious about it all. Smaller spaces need smaller, more flexible HVAC solutions. Green buildings need super-efficient mechanical systems. Even cardboard homes need cooling and heating! We’re excited to think about how our zoned and VRF technologies can be applied to even the most creative projects. Because it seems that no matter what comes next, Mitsubishi Electric has an HVAC solution.

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May 3, 2017, 9:00 am Filed Under: Project Profile

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 26, 2017, 9:00 am Filed Under: Corporate News

The Latest and Greatest From Mitsubishi Electric

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We’ve been eager to share some exciting news with you – and now we can!

Mitsubishi Electric Wins Greenest Brand

We are pleased to announce we’ve been selected as the greenest brand in the HVAC category by Green Builder Media’s 2017 Reader’s Choice Survey.

Green Builder Media is the nation’s leading media company focused on green building and sustainable living. Every year, Green Builder Media asks readers to share information about their favorite brands and current perceptions about the green building market. In the survey, readers were able to rank which company they believed offered the greenest heating, ventilation and air-conditioning products. Out of 11 brands, we achieved first place.

At Mitsubishi Electric, we pride ourselves on our high quality and energy efficient products and this award reinforces our position as a leading player in the green building industry.

Be Sure to Sign Up for Our May Webinar!

On Thursday, May 4, 2 p.m. – 3 p.m. EDT, High Performing Buildings will host the webinar. Presenters will include our own Kevin Miskewicz, LEED® Green Associate and director, commercial marketing; and Joe Cefaly, CEM, LEED Accredited Professional, senior manager, OEM applications. Attendees will learn about the recent developments in Dedicated Outside Air System (DOAS) technology, and how ventilation in commercial buildings is more effective and efficient than ever. They will also learn how DOAS addresses ventilation concerns, and how they are easier to design, improve air quality and perform better and quieter.

Topics include:

  • Current industry trends informing ventilation technology development
  • Recent developments in ventilation systems
  • What today’s most advanced DOAS systems look like and how they differ from other technologies
  • The future of ventilation systems

Click here to register for the webinar.

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April 19, 2017, 9:00 am Filed Under: Industry News

The Green Retrofit Takeover

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It’s no secret that we’ve seen an increased demand for commercial buildings that are environmentally conscious and able to conserve energy. Building owners and managers have quickly learned that going green can attract more, higher-paying tenants. A majority of this demand is being met by high-performance buildings, but there are not enough new construction projects to satisfy the market. To fully meet these demands, the industry has turned to green retrofits.

The green retrofitting trend is good news for the industry. The National Institute of Building Sciences recently found that retrofitting an existing building can oftentimes be more cost effective than building a new green facility. There’s also been talk about the long-term benefits of green retrofitting. According to the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), “Owners of green buildings reported that their return on investment improved by 19.2% on average for existing building green projects” compared to just “9.9% on average for new projects.” Other benefits include reduced operating costs and environmental impact, and an increased market value. Green retrofitted buildings also tend to have a longer lifespan and contribute to a comfortable environment for tenants – especially since tenants now want features such as rooftop gardens and use of recycled material for interior finishes and furnishings.

Green retrofitting can also play an important role in facilities where the occupant experience is paramount. These renovated buildings feature improved indoor air quality and upgraded accessibility and security. The USGBC reported the following about how retrofitting can improve tenant health: “Building retrofits which improved the indoor environment of a building resulted in reductions of: communicable respiratory diseases of 9-20%; allergies and asthma of 18-25%; and non-specific health and discomfort effects of 20-50%.”

It’s an exciting time to become involved in green retrofit projects. From now until 2023, the USGBC predicts that commercial building owners and managers will invest an estimated $960 billion globally on green retrofitting. At Mitsubishi Electric, we have welcomed green retrofitting with open arms and our products are a strong fit for this application. For example, our efficient Variable Refrigerant Flow (VRF) technology helped Stack House Apartments renovate their facility to be a showcase of sustainability. And, like Stack House Apartments, we look forward to a greener future.

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