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A challenge of the Reynolds Building’s restoration was replacing the outdated HVAC system with a modern, energy-efficient system that could meet the building’s needs.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.
The Bicycle Hotel & Casino is a popular gaming destination in Los Angeles with a newly added high-end boutique hotel. When the project team began searching for an HVAC system for the hotel, they knew exactly what they were looking for: a quiet system that could deliver superior performance in a 24-hour facility. They knew our Variable Refrigerant Flow (VRF) would meet their criteria.
Doug Lee, architect, Lee & Sakahara Architects, Irvine, California, was familiar with our VRF technology from previous installations. In addition to its quiet operation, our technology also offered fewer branch controllers – meaning fewer ceiling access panels – and a two-pipe system, helping to save on material and labor costs.
Even before completion, the system was receiving positive feedback. VRF’s small footprint and flexibility allowed a quick installation in a bustling location that never shuts down. “We wanted a system that would help facilitate and speed up that construction. We had the system installed in 50 days,” said Lee.
Most importantly, the system’s quiet operation leaves hotel guests in a comfortable, peaceful environment. It has even contributed to the hotel and casino earning recognitions like CALGreen and SoCal Edison certifications!
To learn more about the quiet and versatile HVAC system in Bicycle Hotel & Casino, read the full case study here.
If you want to learn more about remote facility management, check out our Facility Management newsletter.
As a society, we are increasingly demanding sustainability in all facets of life. The effect on the building industry has been staggering. Owners and managers of commercial buildings have quickly learned that going green can save on operating costs and can attract more, higher-paying tenants. As the U.S. Green Building Council recently learned, the result has been a dramatic increase in demand for green facilities.
Some of that demand is being met by new, high-performance buildings. To fully meet the mandate, however, the industry will need to take on a significant number of green commercial retrofit projects. The good news: The U.S. Energy Information Agency’s recent Commercial Buildings Energy Consumption Survey found that about half of America’s commercial buildings were built before 1980 – creating a wealth of buildings just waiting to get the green treatment.
The scope of each commercial retrofit will include meeting tenant requirements for features like rooftop gardens, recycling and composting programs, and green transportation options. The list of mechanical systems that engineers will be asked to update isn’t unexpected. It includes:
For all of these systems, the question will be what technology or product can help a project meet its client’s needs and budget, as well as today’s building codes. A frequent answer: super-efficient, state-of-the-art technologies – the same ones that were once considered “alternative.”
If you want to learn more about green retrofits, check out our Engineer newsletter.
The Asbury United Methodist Church (AUMC) in Harrisonburg, Virginia, has been welcoming guests through its doors for 228 years. Today, the church still offers religious services but also serves as a place for education and community activities. AUMC’s education and community wing totals 23,000 square feet of the building and quickly needed a long-term HVAC solution.
Pastor Bob Talbott and Bill Rees, AUMC’s chairman of the trustees, both agreed that the current HVAC system required too much maintenance, and that Variable Refrigerant Flow (VRF) was the perfect solution for the supplementary space. Rees said, “It was the efficiency and functionality that drew us to it – to be able to control individual rooms, to be able to schedule and change the temperature based on the comfort of the folks in the room.”
AUMC selected Blauch Brothers, Inc., Harrisonburg, to complete the project. Winston Rhodes, PE, design engineer, Blauch Brothers, felt Mitsubishi Electric was a wise choice. “Mitsubishi [Electric] was clearly the most field-proven; it has all the kinks worked out as the most mature product in the VRF line.”
Without going over budget, the installation was successful, and the result has been extremely positive for AUMC. The church now has the control and zoning abilities it wanted.
As Rees said, “The system has performed nicely given the variety of uses. Our education wing is used every day – morning, afternoon and evening. The big spaces are used, and the small classrooms are used. So it’s a variety of uses at a variety of times, and the Mitsubishi [Electric] system is performing very, very well.”
To learn more about the project, check out the case study here.
Looking to gain some extra knowledge on Variable Refrigerant Flow (VRF)? Check out our recent course, “VRF Technology: An Innovative HVAC system for Achieving LEED® Points,” published on AIA’s continuing education website, The Continuing Architect, presented by Architectural Products.
From this course, architects will learn about the benefits of VRF in comparison to other HVAC systems, as well as learn how VRF can help earn points toward a LEED certification. The course also explains how to find solutions for potential design challenges with VRF through examples from our recent case studies.
Healthcare Facilities Management magazine recently reported the success of some HVAC systems in health and wellness facilities. With stringent indoor air quality requirements, these facilities need systems that condition outside air, monitor and control humidity, filter air and provide ample ventilation. The article reported that beyond these measurable requirements, facility managers also want sustainable and energy-efficient systems. It also recognized a few manufacturers – including us – as meeting these needs.
Specifically, our latest Variable Refrigerant Flow (VRF) innovation, CITY MULTI® L-Generation Air-source technology, was recognized for its improvements in efficiency and its ability to maximize heat transfer. In regard to facility management, the magazine celebrated our Diamond Controls™ Solutions for its assistance in helping managers modify zone temperatures and observe building conditions, such as occupancy, CO2 levels, energy usage and humidity levels.
To learn more about how our VRF performs in health and wellness facilities, check out these case studies: Choctaw General Hospital and Grand Lake Mental Health Center.