Posts tagged ‘case study’

March 26, 2014, 4:06 pm

Interview with an Engineer: Vic Amoroso

March 26_Muscatine County Courthouse ImageWater in the basement, leaky pipes and loud units were some of the more obvious signs that the 30-year-old cooling and heating system in the historic Muscatine County Courthouse needed to be replaced. The nagging effects of the outdated system and the design challenges presented by the 105-year-old building coupled with the county’s goal to decrease energy usage led to the installation of our VRF zoning system. In addition to providing optimal air quality and energy savings, our system contributed to the building becoming one of only a handful of courthouses in the U.S. to earn ENERGY STAR® certification.

We sat down with Vic Amoroso, founder and principal of A & J Associates, to discuss why our VRF zoning system was the ideal choice for the job.

ME: What factors in any given situation lead you to specify VRF zoning systems? Are there typical situations where VRF is the right solution?

Vic Amoroso (VA): Yes. Because VRF systems heat and cool via a change of state, from liquid to gas and back again, you transfer more BTUs per pound of fluid — very much like a steam system. One result is that VRF systems don’t require as much ductwork as air transport systems. That means VRF systems are friendly to projects where space is limited — such as historic rehabilitation projects in buildings that didn’t originally have air conditioning.

The other big advantage with VRF is that it provides better individual control at a lower cost. A central air system would use central terminal air boxes and tie them to variable flow diffusers to get individual zone control. That costs more than VRF but doesn’t allow the level of control you get with VRF. Another alternative would be individual heat pumps or fan coil units in rooms. But that’s more expensive than VRF because of the larger components. In buildings with limited space — typical in older buildings — VRF has the lowest first cost because it requires about 20 percent less ductwork than air transport systems.

Another HVAC system that’s competitive with VRF cost and energy-wise is radiant heating and cooling. However we don’t usually use radiant heating and cooling because it requires drop ceilings and “clouds” that are not historically appropriate in older buildings.

ME: Does Mitsubishi Electric’s CITY MULTI VRF zoning system have advantages over other VRF systems?

VA: Yes. First, Mitsubishi Electric’s VRF system is the only two-pipe simultaneous cooling and heating VRF system available. So it costs about 10 to 30 percent less than comparable VRF systems. Second, Mitsubishi does a better job of interfacing with a geothermal system. Third, Mitsubishi’s outside air-cooled units can handle lower temperatures better than other VRF systems. So in most comparisons, Mitsubishi’s VRF system gets the job.

To read the full interview, check out the article in our Fall 2013 Engineer newsletter. For more information on this installation, click here for the Muscatine County Courthouse Case Study. To subscribe to our newsletters, click here.

Written by MitsubishiHVAC
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August 15, 2013, 2:57 pm

Project Profile: Miami University, Oxford, Ohio


Founded in 1809, Miami University of Ohio (Miami) is the 10th oldest public university in the country. When Miami decided to develop a plan to grow its campus and shrink energy costs, renovating its two oldest buildings, Elliott Hall and Stoddard Hall, became the top priority. Another aspect of the plan was to end on-campus coal burning by 2025, which sparked the search for a cooling and heating replacement for the two halls.

Doug Hammerle, director of energy systems at Miami, knew that a geothermal system was the way to go. Because temperatures underground in Ohio stay relatively constant over the year, the geothermal well fields remain at a steady temperature, maximizing energy savings.

When Hammerle presented the school’s plan to nearby Cincinnati distributor Habegger Corporation, Brian Isaacs, director of corporate sales at Habegger, immediately knew what system would be ideal for the halls. Having read that modular water-source systems were the industry’s most advanced technology to partner with existing geothermal loops, Isaacs recommended that the university install our water-source VRF zoning systems.

Our systems replaced the existing boiler/chiller system for the two buildings. Accessible mechanical rooms in the attic of each hall now house three heat pumps and a centralized controller. Custom wood cabinets encase the indoor units to preserve the historic architecture of the halls’ interiors. Most importantly, the new VRF zoning systems allowed for a 61 percent decrease in energy usage, making the two oldest buildings now the most energy-efficient on campus.

“Renovation of any historic building is a complex undertaking requiring a balance between the original architecture and modern building systems,” said Alec R. Carnes, senior principal at the project’s mechanical engineering firm, Heapy Engineering, Dayton, Ohio. “Mitsubishi Electric’s superior VRF engineering allowed us to preserve this historic architecture and control energy efficiency, two goals important to Miami University.”

To read the full case study, click here.

July 22, 2013, 10:50 am

The Beauty of Designing with VRF Zoning Systems

In the most recent edition of our Architect newsletter, we addressed the dilemma architects often face when combining innovation with comfort in their designs. The solution: Variable Refrigerant Flow (VRF) zoning systems. VRF zoning technology opens the doors to limitless design possibilities and allows architects to strike that perfect balance between extraordinary design and optimal comfort. Here are some of the reasons why:

July 22_Why Architects Love ME VRF-Ductless Technologies ImageSpace-saving Interior Design: Mitsubishi Electric VRF zoning systems allow you to reclaim up to 10 percent of the space that would otherwise be sacrificed with conventional HVAC systems, leaving more room for design creativity. Turner Construction Company decided our VRF zoning system was ideally suited for its 13,000-square-foot office, which had been retrofitted from an old mattress factory built before air conditioning existed.

Engineered to Handle Any Job: Whether the space is large or small, a single floor or an entire building, VRF zoning systems can meet almost any design need. For instance, our systems have been used in all types of buildings, from the 9,212-square-foot LeyVa Middle School Administration Building to the luxurious Hotel Wilshire, a 74-room boutique hotel that incorporated our system into its design as it strived to achieve a LEED® Silver certification. In both these applications, the buildings benefitted from energy efficiency and exceptional zoned comfort.

Outdoor Aesthetics: The outdoor units of the VRF zoning systems have a small footprint and are lightweight. They can be placed in various locations depending on available space and visibility requirements. For the historic Muscatine County Courthouse, our compact VRF zoning system helped preserve the classic lines and grandeur of this 1907 Beaux Arts style courthouse.

For more reasons why VRF zoning systems and architects are the perfect match, click here to read the Architect newsletter.

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