Posts tagged ‘educational facility’

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 5, 2016, 9:00 am

Project Profile: The Willow School

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“How do you make a building like a tree?” That was the question Mark Biedron, co-founder, The Willow School (Willow), Gladstone, New Jersey, was trying to answer when he, his wife Gretchen and the team at Willow embarked on the Living Building Challenge (LBC). LBC is a standard requiring buildings to be 100 percent electric – often functioning at net-zero or net-positive energy usage. This was the goal for Willow’s new 20,000-square-foot Health, Wellness and Nutrition Center – and it was our very own VRF technology that helped achieve that goal.

Since a tree would use only sunlight, Willow produced energy with photovoltaic panels. That energy then fueled the school’s mechanical systems, like our VRF technology and Lossnay Energy Recovery Ventilators. The VRF units keep the school comfortable for little energy, while the Lossnay ERVs enable this new building to recover energy from exhaust air and simultaneously cool or heat outside ventilation air as it enters the building.

The result is a hugely efficient energy operation – a reflection of the school’s commitment to sustainability, and of the smart products and project design. “Every load was tracked and analyzed. Every amp and watt was accounted for. Nothing was missed,” said Vin Farese, Loring Consulting Engineers, Princeton, New Jersey. The success is evident: The school building performs more than 700 percent more efficiently than conventional educational facilities. Biedron is very proud of that fact: “It’s really the responsibility of the educational community to teach children how the planet works, why that’s important and how to use energy efficiently.”

To learn more about the efficiency at Willow – including how our customer service helped Willow meet certain LBC codes – check out the case study.

Written by MitsubishiHVAC
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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.

June 11, 2015, 10:18 am

The Grass Is Always Greener on the Greener Side

Educational facilities across the country are going green. Recycling clubs, organic gardens, green roofs and sustainable dining programs are becoming campus staples. More and more institutions are adopting environmentally conscious practices and technologies for a simple reason: to minimize operational costs in order to maximize the educational experience.

Here are some of the ways that sustainable HVAC solutions benefit educational facilities:

  1. Cost Savings. When school is in session, cooling and heating systems provide a comfortable learning environment. When school is not in session, the systems safeguard the building from the damaging effects from extreme heat, freezing temperatures and excessive humidity. With an energy-efficient HVAC system, all of this is done at a reduced cost. When Falmouth Elementary School, Stafford, Virginia, installed our VRF zoning systems, their operating costs decreased by 40 percent and their energy costs fell by 25 percent – a savings of $70,000 per year.

  2. Utility Rebates. Many utility companies offer financial incentives for purchasing qualified energy-efficient systems. Our VRF solutions have contributed to astounding utility rebates for a number of commercial projects – Towson City Center got back $421,999; Union Mill, $164,258; 909 Kapiolani, $70,000; Residence Inn® by Marriott®, $27,000.

  3. Tax Incentives. The Energy Efficient Commercial Building Tax Deduction (Section 179D) is a deduction of up to $1.80 per square foot for companies designing or renovating energy-efficient buildings for the government. Participating schools have received free energy assessments and been able to offer designers and contractors a potential tax deduction for their sustainable design solutions.

The Hollis Montessori School, Hollis, New Hampshire, is a good model for how an educational facility can improve energy efficiency with an environmentally friendly HVAC solution and, in turn, improve its students’ educational experience. Our H2i® system creates not only a healthy environment in which the students can learn but an unparalleled academic experience. Teachers incorporate the building’s energy usage into lessons and students are encouraged to interact with the system’s monitoring equipment. As far as the savings go, Hollis Montessori School’s annual electricity bill is just $4,500 – an 85 percent energy savings, says the school’s energy consultant. The school has an even bigger achievement to tout – it’s the first independent school in the country to earn Passive House certification.

July 9, 2014, 10:47 am

Project Profile: Falmouth Elementary School



Stafford County Public Schools in Stafford, Virginia, wanted to shift towards sustainable building practices but they had a problem facility: Falmouth Elementary School (Falmouth ES). The school was in desperate need of renovation and faced a host of challenges, the biggest of which was the existing cooling and heating system, which was bulky, inefficient and costly.

The existing cooling and heating system had no dehumidification capabilities, which led to poor indoor air quality and a battle with mold. The system was housed in a separate building in the parking lot, which made it difficult to drop off and pick up students and it was energy inefficient. Falmouth ES was operating at 90 kBtu/sf per year, 30 percent higher than the average for educational facilities in similar climates.

Creating a high-performing and efficient HVAC system for Falmouth ES was critical to renovating the building. The school system contacted b2E Consulting Engineers, Leesburg, Virginia, for help designing a new system. They decided our VRF zoning system would be able to address all of the school’s issues.

Timm Guyer, project manager for Acme Mechanical Contractors of Virginia, Inc., Manassas, Virginia, installed the system. “The Mitsubishi Electric VRF zoning system was a perfect fit for the Falmouth ES installation. It was easy for us to install, is super efficient and we have had zero warranty issues,” said Guyer.

The team was able to keep the school’s original ceiling height while improving lighting levels and reducing noise pollution in classrooms. Most impressively, the school has seen a 25 to 30 percent reduction in its energy costs despite expanding the building area by 13,000 square feet!

Click here to learn more about Falmouth ES’ renovation.

Written by MitsubishiHVAC
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