Posts tagged ‘cost efficiency’

July 27, 2016, 9:00 am

Project Profile: Simpson Hall – University of Florida

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For University of Florida alumni and residents, the city of Gainesville is affectionately referred to as “The Swamp.” It was exactly that muggy humidity and those high temperatures that plagued the school’s buildings, prompting renovations to the electrical and HVAC systems in Simpson Hall. Last renovated in the mid 1970s, the 34,847-square-foot residence hall was in dire need of an HVAC update.

Chad Doering, mechanical engineer and project manager, Moses & Associates, Inc., Gainesville, specified the new HVAC system. “We wanted to be able to dehumidify and maintain indoor pressure, which was not something we were able to do well with the previous system.” He recognized that a Variable Refrigerant Flow (VRF) system would not only achieve these goals, but would do so cost-effectively – both in terms of the lifecycle-cost analysis he completed, and with the money saved by installing less equipment. Doering said, “This install covers 143 zones and if we wanted to give each student personalized control, we would have needed a branch controller for each zone – that’s 143 branch boxes. With Mitsubishi Electric, we only needed 15 boxes – and five of those were for the outdoor units.”

Our VRF systems are not just more efficient than the competition’s, they are incomparably more energy-efficient than conventional units. The chart below demonstrates the energy savings at Simpson Hall compared to North Hall – a comparable residence hall renovation the school completed around the same time, but with a chilled-water system:

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The success of the Simpson Hall renovation prompted the school’s housing department to select our products for a second project – Cypress Hall. Despite being one of the largest residence hall construction projects on campus, the HVAC installation at Cypress Hall cost just $26 per square foot – beating Simpson Hall’s installation costs by an average of $4.

To learn more about how Simpson Hall compares to the installations in North Hall and Cypress Hall, check out the case study.

July 21, 2016, 9:00 am

Comfort, Over the Airwaves

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In our newest radio ad, our “official-sounding scientist” takes listeners through the personalization abilities of our Zoned Comfort Solutions, emphasizing lower cost for greater comfort. It goes something like this –

Regulating the temperature in a car happens in one of two ways: either the air is on full blast, or the windows are open, often battering back seat passengers with whipping highway winds. Without either option, the car quickly becomes a mobile sauna. It’s difficult to regulate temperature in such a small space and for a relatively brief time, so it’s a necessary evil. That shouldn’t be the case in a home or office, however, where many rooms can satisfy many needs, yet that is exactly what traditional cooling systems do.

Catch this new ad over the airwaves to see for yourself how our official-sounding scientist captures this key messaging.

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June 6, 2016, 9:00 am

Project Profile: Dodge City Schools

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“I can hear my teacher now.” That was one student’s reaction in Dodge City, Kansas, after the school district began renovating each of its 10 schools’ HVAC systems. When it paired our Water-source Variable Refrigerant Flow (VRF) with geothermal technology in two of its buildings, that same wonderful thing happened – suddenly, students could hear their teachers. Additionally, the district saw reduced utility bills, green certification and satisfied teachers.

Each summer now, the district focuses efforts on one renovation. Our water-source VRF technology entered the scene during the second summer as part of improving conditions in the 35,000-square-foot Central Elementary School (Central) – a two-story brick facility built in 1927. Water-source VRF paired with geothermal technology replaced outdated, inefficient HVAC systems. VRF brought efficiency, true zoning and excellent control to that pairing.

The following summer, Wilroads Elementary School (Wilroads) – a 19,000-square-foot building from the 1950s – was renovated by pairing our water-source VRF systems with geothermal technology. Drew Rose, electrical engineer, Integrated Consulting Engineers, Inc., Wichita, Kansas, has served as the project manager and designer for the ongoing Dodge City Schools projects. Rose said of the Wilroads installation that “everyone’s been satisfied since, and the teachers were really excited to get something that works without being loud.”

Both Central and Wilroads also earned ENERGY STAR® certification; Central even got a score of 91! “When you think about how it was built in 1927, well, we think that’s pretty impressive,” said William Hammond, the district’s executive director of business operations.

The Dodge City Unified School District’s energy manager, Morris Reeves, spoke of the decision to use VRF: “We work every day to conserve energy. Energy conserved is more money for the classroom – that’s what we’re all about.” Hammond added: “I like being green to save energy and resources, and being green to save money. I try to find projects that do both.” By pairing our water-source VRF systems with geothermal technology, the school district was able to do both. This pairing even earned the district a claim of $215,000 in grants and rebates. And now, nearly 7,000 students can hear their teachers.

To read more about Dodge City Schools, check out the case study.

March 24, 2016, 9:00 am

Zoned Comfort Solutions in a Limited Rental Market

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In predicting the trends of the housing market for 2016, the Washington Post expects that, “for renters, 2016 will be a difficult year.” Specifically, it focuses on millennials – who are driving builders toward multifamily projects and apartment buildings, but also of empty-nesters – baby boomers whose millennial children have moved out and who are now scaling back in retirement.

Having both millennials and boomers in the market has created an inverse relationship resulting in a dramatically reduced supply. The Washington Post also notes that “builders have been slow to increase construction of new single-family homes,” which limits that supply further. Instead, what seems to be happening, writes Time magazine, is that investors are buying larger homes foregone by empty-nesters and renovating them to become multifamily rental spaces.

Though millennials will still have to delay becoming homeowners, the benefit is an exponential increase in rental space for all. For the building industry, the expansion of single-family homes into multifamily apartments means a need for energy-efficient, sustainable cooling and heating options. Installing zoned comfort solutions gives each family in these developments individual, personalized zones. This means that for renters who have limited options, more cost-efficient rental spaces are opening up.

House vector. People vector. Infographic vector designed by Freepik. Graphics have been edited.

March 22, 2016, 9:00 am

Green Certification in Unexpected Applications

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This year’s International Builders’ Show provided a perfect forum for Home Innovation Research Labs to showcase its annual report and the initial results of its National Green Building StandardTM (NGBS) certification program. The goal of this program was to create a flexible yet consistent building certification program with which builders and developers could certify green projects. With over 60,000 green certified projects to date, these results show the success of the NGBS program.

Most interestingly, the report highlighted a niche of distinct mixed-use facilities that may not have qualified as green-certified projects under other metrics. Some of these facilities included:

  • Student Housing. Student housing creates small but diverse communities in a single area. Schools can promote sustainability by installing high-performance insulation and ventilation products, but also by placing campus housing facilities, student resource buildings and social life nearby one another, making it easier for students to make sustainable choices to walk or bike rather than take a car.
  • Military Housing. Servicemen, servicewomen and veterans bring to the building industry a variety of need-based applications. For example, in Liberty Hill, Texas, Staff Sergeant Ray Coffey needed a cold, dark space to help manage the after-effects of his service.
  • Rescue Facilities. Rescue facilities – firehouses, and emergency stations where first responders must remain on-call – typically have residential floors where professionals on call can sleep, cook and commune. These facilities also have the business component of a garage and dispatch. In some cases, these facilities could even be registered as a “residence with an exceptionally large garage.”
  • Supportive Shelters. In low-incoming housing, having cost-saving options but still providing noticeable comfort is right in line with the mission. Often these are varied spaces with multiple kitchens and residences, as well as community and enrichment rooms.

For more ideas about how to redefine sustainable building, click here to read the full annual report.

March 1, 2016, 9:00 am

Success Showing From Low-income Housing Initiatives

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Late last year, during his visit to the United States, Pope Francis called for an end to homelessness. It’s a crisis that remains at the front of our national consciousness. Incidentally, the building industry has the ability to contribute by developing affordable housing, and the outlook is good.

Last month, “Affordable Housing Finance” reported findings that the performance of Low-income Housing Tax Credits (LIHTC) is trending upward. LIHTC incentivize property managers and industry professionals to develop low-income housing and those incentives are shown to have increased overall occupancy to 97.5 percent – according to this study from CohnReznick. This study also showed a decrease in the risks associated with low-income projects – including an improved debt coverage ratio.

As the frequency of new low-income projects continues to grow, we know that our cost-saving HVAC products can help keep energy bills down which makes low income housing that much more affordable. We strive to offer easy-to-install and affordable-to-maintain cooling and heating systems because all people should live comfortably without worry of the cost.

Icon made by Freepik from www.flaticon.com and is licensed by CC BY 3.0.. Family Designed by Freepik. Graphics have been edited.

Written by MitsubishiHVAC
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February 2, 2016, 9:00 am

Marketing for Millennials

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Millennials’ tastes and demands evolve quickly – dictated by changes in the economy and technology, which impact what they purchase and how long they use it. Selling to this demographic comes with specific challenges, including being able to respond to these fluid factors. It becomes important to find the constant in all that shifting. The Responsive Home project – which studies market trends – recently identified one such constant in the millennial marketplace: “value.” Kevin McJoynt of Gerber and Danze said it this way: “Millennials want high quality at a fair price.”

As we continue to innovate, we know that establishing value for our end users means providing products that cost or use less. A recent Nielson study further proved this, claiming that millennials are placing an emphasis on buying sustainable products. Those of us in the HVAC industry are no stranger to the concepts of sustainability and efficiency. It’s no surprise to see these younger consumers learning what we’ve known all along – it makes sense to invest a little more up front if value is delivered over the life of a purchase.

From the professional side of the table, this finding that millennials prize value is nothing earth-shattering, but will be helpful to keep aware of when working with this age group. Planning with millennials in mind will not only help us all appeal to this next generation of home owners, but will ultimately prompt us to keep improving…because we all know that millennials love innovation!

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January 8, 2016, 9:00 am

Project Profile: Garland DOE Zero Energy Ready Home

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Wade Griffith Photography

 

For homebuilder Steve Brown, working around the renovation constraints of a 51-year-old home in Garland, Texas, proved as overwhelming as some good ol’ Texas heat. Nevertheless, Brown pushed that challenge further – seeking to create a home so energy-efficient that a renewable energy system could offset all or most of its annual energy consumption. What resulted was the country’s first “deep rehab” home to earn certification from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Zero Energy Ready Home (ZERH) program. We’re excited to say that our technology helped make it possible.

Brown described the layout of the house as “static” and “closed-off.” Since natural airflow was stifled, in-home comfort was entirely left to the HVAC system. Brown said, “Mitsubishi [Electric] is whisper-quiet and it has a good circulation pattern. We’re getting a throw of 20 feet.” The fact that our system was “whisper-quiet” was a particularly important factor. Brown said, “We’d used Daikin before but the blowers are a little loud.”

The final product in Garland is unmatched. While neighbors have paid upward of $400 per month for electricity, homeowner Bonnie Sanchez has spent an average of $102 – and as low as $37. We’re thrilled (but of course not surprised) to see such savings, and honored that our technology was selected to show what the ZERH program can accomplish.

Read the full case study for more details.

December 21, 2015, 11:32 am

Project Profile: Jesuit Spirituality Center at Saint Charles College

 

dec22Most retrofits are challenged by the difficulty of replacing old, cumbersome ductwork, but imagine retrofitting a building designed before air conditioning! That was the challenge in Grand Coteau, Louisiana, where Reverend James P. Bradley, S.J., wanted to update the HVAC system at the Jesuit Spirituality Center at Saint Charles College. The solution to that challenge: our VRF technology.

The century-old building houses a novitiate (Jesuit training center), a spirituality center for retreats and a 22-bed assisted living facility. For such a large, diverse project, Larry Blanchette, the project’s engineer, elected to use our VRF technology for a number of reasons:

  1. Cost Efficiency – Compared to the chilled water and hot water system that Blanchette initially planned to incorporate, VRF simply priced out better.
  2. Spacing – In a building that covers the equivalent of a city block, there were a number of large beams hidden in the structure. The building’s size and layout presented a challenge that VRF’s compact design was able to help navigate.
  3. Mold – With high humidity and 22 elderly residents, mold was a constant threat. VRF offered personalized comfort and better indoor air quality. “A couple men had asthma and allergy problems, but they’ve gone away,” said Bradley.

Above all, a central controls system has made managing the facility not only convenient, but has also kept the project under the expected cost.
Read the full case study for more details.

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