August 9, 2017, 9:00 am Filed Under: Industry News

The Trend Toward Green

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Every year, it seems, there’s a new green rating program for homes. A long but still incomplete list includes: DOE Zero Energy Ready Home, EarthCraft, ENERGY STAR®, GreenStar, HERS®, LEED® for Homes, Living Building Challenge™, National Green Building Standard™ and Passive House. In short, builders and homeowners are going green.

Recent studies corroborate this trend. In 2016, McGraw Hill surveyed 116 builders regarding their green building practices. Over a third of those builders completed green projects, which accounted for more than 60 percent of their business. By 2018, the percentage of green projects completed by those builders is expected to rise to 90 percent. Over the same period, just 16 percent of builders are expected not to embrace green building.

The U.S. Green Building Council has attempted to understand why builders and homeowners have sustainability in mind. The top reasons driving this upswing in green building include strong market demand, homeowner cost savings, health, building codes and property values. There doesn’t appear to be one single reason the market is going green, but there is a theme among the reasons: to build and live sustainably.

It helps that green building goes hand-in-hand with advancing technology and decreasing footprints. We’re in an era of high expectations when it comes to convenience, which ultimately means that technology – and often-smart technology – must be integrated throughout a space. It’s also an era of smaller houses as homeowners look to control costs, locate themselves more centrally and live meaningfully. The result is that builders are tasked with providing homes that meet all of the market’s previous demands, but that are also contemporary when it comes to technology and footprint.

Fortunately, builders have tools at their disposal to solve this challenge. Manufacturers are offering mobile apps, products and even entire mechanical systems that help builders create homes they can stand by, and homes people want.

If you want to read more about the continual rise in sustainable building and living, check out our Builder newsletter here.

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August 2, 2017, 9:00 am Filed Under: Project Profile

Project Profile: Treat House

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Natalie and Tom Treat wanted an eco-friendly and sustainable home – “something as net-zero as possible,” Tom said. When they couldn’t find such a house in their price range, and their exploration into retrofitting a house to be green came up empty, the couple decided to buy land and build an affordable, energy-efficient modular home in Salisbury, Massachusetts. For cooling and heating, the couple selected our Zoned Comfort Solutions. The result is what Natalie called a “modern, low-impact home that we feel very lucky to live in.”

Even before the project, Natalie was knowledgeable about zoned technology given her job with Northeast Energy Efficiency Partnerships. “My organization does a lot of work on market strategies to advance energy efficiency. So I was aware of the value of heat pumps, and of Mitsubishi Electric specifically . . . I’ve long known that Mitsubishi Electric is an industry leader. They have a high-quality product. They’ve also been involved in moving the bar forward in terms of market research. So they’re a leader in a lot of ways.”

The Treats opted for a Hyper-Heating INVERTER (H2i®) system for its proven operation during Massachusetts’ cold winters. Reliable comfort has been especially important to the couple since welcoming their first child. Natalie said, “Having a baby necessitated putting the set point a little higher. It’s nice to be in a warm house.”

Thanks to the efficient equipment along with plenty of insulation, a higher wintertime set point hasn’t meant a high-energy bill. Natalie said, “We had a utility bill of something like $300. We were asking our neighbor about it and he said, ‘Are you kidding me? Our bill was $1,300.’ So we’re doing pretty well from a cost perspective . . . The whole Mitsubishi Electric experience has been wonderful.”

To read more about the Treats’ experience, including seeing what their circuit monitoring has shown about system performance, check out the case study here.

July 26, 2017, 9:00 am Filed Under: Industry News

Specifying VRF for Multifamily Projects

With many people moving into cities, and with many others moving into walkable communities in the suburbs, multifamily projects are booming. Variable Refrigerant Flow (VRF) technology is a smart fit for this application, and is more relevant than ever given the current market demands and trends.

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Learn more about applying VRF to multifamily applications in our White Paper, “VRF Zoning: An Ideal HVAC Solution for Multifamily Applications.”

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July 19, 2017, 9:00 am Filed Under: Project Profile

Project Profile: St. Patrick Catholic Church

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Since its inception, St. Patrick Catholic Church (St. Patrick’s) in Lake Forest, Illinois, has been a place for the community to gather. As the Lake Forest community grew over time, the 3,900-square-foot building underwent several structural renovations to accommodate new members and guests. In 2016, after tolerating many years without air conditioning, the church installed a new HVAC system in an effort to make the space more comfortable for the large congregation. It turned to our Variable Refrigerant Flow (VRF) technology.

Gianfranco Isaia, the church’s facilities and construction manager, said the church was able to bear the winter weather with boilers in the basement, but when it came to the humid summers in Illinois, St. Patrick’s didn’t have air conditioning to create a comfortable environment.

Isaia contacted John Domenz, vice president, North Town Mechanical Services, Roselle, Illinois. Domenz recommended our VRF because of its minimal piping, small equipment footprint and superior performance. He said, “We could install Mitsubishi Electric units in the space without damaging the building’s architecture. We’ve used Mitsubishi Electric products on several other projects in the past, and we’re always sold on the reliability of the systems.”

Upon Isaia’s agreement, installation began. Since completion, the experience has been very positive for St. Patrick’s. Isaia said, “When we unveiled the renovation, including the new [HVAC] units, over 150 people turned out. I had plenty of people come up to me and say how comfortable it was in the church. Since, I have not heard one person say they are a nuisance or obtrusive. And the units are cooling down the building in several minutes during the hot days. The temperature will drop by 10 degrees in less than 4 minutes.”

To read more about St. Patrick’s experience with VRF, check out the case study here.


Don’t miss Chicago area’s GreenBuilt Home Tour

Do you call the Chicago metropolitan area home? If so, check out the 2017 GreenBuilt Home Tour, July 22 – 23! You’ll have a chance to visit 11 different homes in the northern Illinois area, including four with our systems playing a key role. All homes on the tour are third-party verified by programs such as ENERGY STAR® for Homes, LEED® for Homes, DOE Zero Energy Ready Home, GreenStar and Passivhaus Institut – EnerPHit. We’re excited and honored to be a sponsor of the fifth annual tour. Learn more and buy tickets here.

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July 12, 2017, 9:00 am Filed Under: Corporate News

VRF Eligible for Massachusetts Clean Energy Center Rebates

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As part of their commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions across the state, Massachusetts expanded its Clean Heating and Cooling rebate program to include VRF products in all building applications. Many of our VRF systems qualify as part of the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center’s (MassCEC) five-year, $30 million investment in clean heating technology.

A few of our VRF systems were added to the list of rebate-eligible products because of their esteemed reputation for efficiency. According to MassCEC Program Manager Josh Kessler, heating accounts for around 30 percent of the greenhouse gas emissions in Massachusetts. He said, “VRF is a high-performing technology. “There have been a lot of advances in recent years and we want to increase awareness of what the technology looks like.”

The rebates cover the incremental costs associated with upgrading to VRF from a traditional system or incorporating VRF in new building projects. A MassCEC qualified, pre-approved VRF project can earn a rebate between $800 per ton and $2,000 per ton up to $250,000 depending on the project type, the system’s heating capacity and the product’s heat recovery capability.

We will continue to work with MassCEC to provide world-class clean heating technology to residents and business owners throughout the state. Eric Dubin, Senior Director of Utilities and Performance Construction, Mitsubishi Electric, said, “Clean heat is one of the few places where reducing our carbon footprint can also save people a lot of money.”

For more information on this program, check out the MassCEC website here.

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July 5, 2017, 9:00 am Filed Under: Case Study

VRF’s Role in Oklahoma City’s River Revitalization

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The Oklahoma City (OKC) Boathouse District is central to the recent revitalization of the Oklahoma River. Its six buildings offer athletic training facilities, event spaces, activities for children and adults, and more. With such a wide range of cooling and heating needs across its six buildings, it’s no surprise the five newest Boathouse District buildings selected our Variable Refrigerant Flow (VRF) systems.

The first of the five buildings to receive VRF was Devon Boathouse, what OKC Boathouse Foundation Senior Director John Riggs called a “stunning, high-performance facility, and a designated U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Training Site. There’s a little bit of everything across its 33,000 square feet…” A facility with multiple spaces, and each space dedicated to occupant experience, it required an HVAC system that offered not only zoning abilities but advanced controls. “This is about access – the ability to remote in and change things on the fly. A high level of access and control means you can manage energy costs and customers’ comfort. VRF offers that kind of access,” said Riggs. Our systems also offered a flexible design and discreet operation.

After such a positive experience, the Boathouse District continued using VRF technology on other projects. The next was the Chesapeake Finish Line Tower, which required a flexible installation due to the structure’s castellated beams. After that was the CHK|Central Boathouse, whose performances spaces have a variety of heating loads, and VRF offered the ability to ramp up when the spaces were occupied and ramp down between performances.

Following those two projects, the SandRidge Youth Pavilion needed an HVAC system that could match its high-level, contemporary look, and our VRF was a fit. The most recent project, RIVERSPORT Rapids, is a high-performance building that combines the HVAC needs of all that came before it – zoning, flexibility and aesthetics.

We’re so honored and excited to see our systems applied to such an important, wide-ranging project. The Boathouse District has become a hugely popular area destination. It’s no wonder: its beautiful buildings offer spaces to train Olympians, take in a show, do recreational or sporting activities, or just sit back and enjoy a nice, comfortable afternoon. Learn more.

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July 4, 2017, 9:00 am Filed Under: Holiday

Happy 4th of July!

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June 28, 2017, 9:00 am Filed Under: Industry News

The Implications of an Aging Population on Facility Managers

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Facility managers know every demographic and societal shift has its effect. When populations flocked to the suburbs, the demand for downtown multifamily facilities decreased while the demand for offices and retail centers with parking facilities increased. Recently, the purchasing power of millennials has made all things tech and green popular. As our society grow older, we will see another shift again.

According to leading U.S. demographer, John Maketa, “One baby boomer is retiring in this country every eight seconds.” The U.S. census bureau estimates that by 2050, the number of Americans over 65 will be double what it was in 2010, reaching 88.5 million people. And the number of Americans over 85 will triple, reaching 19 million. Everyone will need comfortable, safe places to live, work and play.

When it comes to housing, many members of our aging population will seek out multifamily buildings for the sake of convenience and community. Facility managers suddenly catering to older tenants will adjust to this population’s needs by developing a hyper-focus on physically safe spaces without losing focus on smooth day-to-day operation. That means reliable mechanical systems enabling healthy spaces will be more important than ever.

Outside of the home, commercial and public spaces will need to be managed with the aging in mind. Hospitality, workplace, healthcare and retail spaces will all need to be accessible, for example, by featuring wider hallways and doorways. Beyond being accessible, these spaces will also need to provide reliable, trouble-free comfort.

Ultimately, facility managers can be a voice for the aging, urging building owners or HOA boards to go beyond requirements. Separate entrances that accommodate this population can be stigmatizing, for example, as can systems focused on just a few individuals, like personal air purifiers. Facility managers can help ensure that a facility is welcoming to an aging populace. It’s a responsibility and an opportunity, and it’s one that will only feel more urgent as our population ages.

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

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June 21, 2017, 9:00 am Filed Under: Corporate News

MFZ-KJ and PremiSys Fusion Win Industry Awards

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We are pleased to announce that our MFZ-KJ Floor-mounted Indoor Unit and PremiSys® Fusion Dedicated Outside Air System have received industry recognition for their innovation!

Each year, Appliance Design hosts the Excellence in Design award competition, and this year, MFZ-KJ received the Bronze Award in the HVAC category. The competition recognizes products across eight different categories for their strengths in design and performance. An independent panel selected the winners on the basis of creativity, ease of use and visual appeal.

In addition, PremiSys Fusion was selected as a winner for BUILDINGS’ Money-Saving Products award competition. The competition recognizes manufacturers with products that support commercial buildings and offer cost saving benefits for facility managers. Out of 91 submissions, the editorial staff selected PremiSys as a winner based on relevance to commercial building management.

We pride ourselves on our thought leadership and these achievements reinforce our product innovation. To read more about the awards, check out the announcements here and here.

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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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