The Sacramento Drill Tower, Sacramento, California, is an unusual building. A large water tank takes up two-thirds of the 9,476-square-foot, concrete facility. The other third is occupied by offices for the city’s firemen, administrators and IT personnel. For years, these occupants were cooled and heated by a four-pipe chilled-water and boiler system. When that system failed, the city installed our Variable Refrigerant Flow (VRF) technology. The result: immense energy savings and easy maintenance.
When the building’s old chilled-water compressor failed, Nghiem Nguyen, the mechanical maintenance supervisor for City of Sacramento Facility Maintenance turned to our systems. “I was fully impressed by VRF and Mitsubishi [Electric]. They were so far ahead of everybody else when it came to VRF. The engineering aspect and operational maintenance were really in place . . . I knew this would be a great application. It wouldn’t be hard to retrofit since we wouldn’t have to open up the walls to pull out old lines. The real selling feature, though, was the energy savings. I knew it was going to be huge for us.”
Ngyuen was correct. Comparing pre- and post-installation energy data shows that the system’s efficiency has led to a total energy savings (kBtu usage) of 50 percent, and a total cost savings of 19 percent. Money has also been saved on maintenance: “We’re saving so much money on service calls and maintenance calls. We probably have a tenth of the service calls we had before.”
The Sacramento Drill Tower project was so successful that it inspired the city to use VRF at two more facilities. To learn more, check out the case study.
The Élan Hotel (Élan), a part of the Greystone Hotel family, is consistently ranked as one of the top five hotels in Los Angeles. Guests rave about its personal touches and modern look, as well as the comfort they experience relaxing after a long day of shopping in all of the nearby stores. For years, though, the hotel experienced comfort issues that challenged its ability to provide a truly extraordinary stay for every guest. Those issues were solved by our VRF technology.
Randy Scholnick, sales & products manager, Sirius Mechanical, Inc., Moreno Valley, California, described the noisy and inefficient situation. “The rooms directly below [the old HVAC] units – people complained and the rooms couldn’t be rented. It was a real emergency issue. The hotel was losing revenue. So they needed two things: a quieter solution – whatever goes on the roof has to be practically silent – and something more efficient.”
Scholnick recommended our R2-Series VRF systems, as they offer what he called “a true two-pipe system. Plus Mitsubishi [Electric] systems just do what they’re supposed to do. They’re efficient and quiet, and you get such good diagnostics. [Élan] wanted something that’s trouble free and that will diagnose itself. Well, that’s CITY MULTI®.” The team also installed three of our Lossnay Energy Recovery Ventilators to keep rooms smelling fresh.
With our technology running seamlessly in the background, the hotel guests are now comfortable, Élan management is satisfied and the project has received some great reviews, earning California Green certification.
To learn more about the Élan Hotel project and why repeat guests have shared positive feedback with management, check out the case study.
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:
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.
“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.
In Boston’s historic North End, the combination of extreme cold weather and colonial architecture make bringing comfort systems into old, closed-off buildings a demanding challenge. This is especially difficult while trying to maintain the charm and aesthetic of these structures.
Matt Donaghey – builder and managing director at Cricket Realty Holdings, LLC, Waltham, Massachusetts – was familiar with our products. Because of this, he knew that they would be the ideal fit for the strict demands of his Prince Street apartment building. “For the space, we knew that this system was the only realistic option,” Donaghey said.
Part of that was guaranteeing operation during extreme weather. “Usually, the cold isn’t something we need to consider all that often – most systems can handle our weather – but last year (when Boston experienced record snowfall) that really changed. Now we need something that can be highly efficient, especially in really cold weather.” This was the mindset that brought Donaghey to the decision to select our compact Zoning Comfort Solutions™ with Hyper-Heating INVERTER™ (H2i®) technology.
A once old and inefficient building that relied on unattractive window units for cooling and an ancient boiler for heating now has a clean look and reliable efficiency – not to mention heat! “When you have continuous days of sub-zero weather, you have to have the confidence that the system can continue to work,” Donaghey said of his completed project.
To read more about the North End Apartments, check out the case study.
Our colleagues in Kansas City, Kansas, Morgan & Associates, Inc., have been doing some meaningful work specifying our Variable Refrigerant Flow (VRF) products. Recently, they helped the Mercy & Truth Medical Clinic – a faith-based, childbirth facility – renovate its building, which re-opened last month. The alliance between the Mercy & Truth Medical Mission and the New Birth Company is working to help fight the high infant mortality rate impacting Wyandotte County, Kansas. We’re proud that Morgan & Associates are a part of this initiative.
As can be expected, birthing facilities demand a specific environment to help keep mothers and their newborns healthy, safe and comfortable. Bringing adequate air flow into the birthing rooms meant maneuvering through three rooms on the first floor of the renovated brick building. Morgan & Associates recognized that recommending and installing VRF would provide maximum flexibility between the offices, exam rooms and birthing suites – each having its own comfort needs.
For the birthing suites and nursing station, Mercy & Truth selected our CITY MULTI® VRF technology with heat recovery, while the remaining office space runs on our standard VRF heat pumps. Morgan Knipp, president of Morgan & Associates, said, “Being able to contribute our expertise in the HVAC area to help counteract this frightening infant mortality rate serves such a higher purpose. We are eager to see that statistic change and the lives transformed from this place.”
Rural Pennsylvania is known for its beautiful countryside, so when Dean Carlson – a former Wall Street bond trader – decided to convert Honey Brook’s Wyebrook Farm to a sustainable restaurant, his focus was on aesthetics. Carson selected a 230-year-old stone barn and chose our S-Series system and Lossnay Energy Recovery Ventilator to keep it comfortable. This combination allowed the restoration to have an 18th-century look, with a 20th-century feel.
Keeping in theme with the pastoral surroundings, the goal was to retain the farmhouse look by keeping mechanical systems discreet. Rich Nolan – the project’s designer – said of Carlson’s vision: “They didn’t want ductwork hanging across the restaurant; and you don’t want to be at dinner eating a grass-fed piece of beef and have the compressor kick on.”
Our system avoided all of this. Minimally invasive piping would allow the old building to live a second life without renovating the façade. Further, a building that had never needed any HVAC system would keep the appearance it always had, without obtrusive ductwork, and the restaurant would be sustainable both in the food it served as well as its independence from fossil fuels. As a result, the restaurant has received two awards for Nolan’s work and Carlson’s vision.
To read more about Wyebrook Farm, check out the case study.
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.
The grand prize in this year’s DIY Network Blog Cabin™ Giveaway was a masterful 1970s home in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. Twenty-three million people entered for a chance to call this ‘Blog Cabin’ home, but it is Albert Zaranka and his wife Ellen who will enjoy the comfort and breathtaking views of this hilltop property.
Builder and design manager Dylan Eastman kept what was salvageable of the original one-story ranch – the foundation and the concrete walls, which he wanted to keep exposed. There were two challenges when it came to the HVAC: the cold, concrete interior and the Upper Northwest climate. Our M-Series Hyper-Heat system offered the solution. Zoned cooling and heating affords the Zarankas personalized comfort in each area of their now multi-level home. Our high performing heat pump will deliver that comfort even in Idaho’s sub-zero winter nights.
This is the third consecutive year we have sponsored the Giveaway. In 2013, our M-Series system helped transform an 1890s rundown home into an awe-inspiring waterfront property in Atlantic, North Carolina. In 2014, it was used in the renovation of a 1920s bungalow in Lake Hamilton, Florida. Each year, Eastman and his team have turned houses that no one wants into homes millions desire – and we’re proud to have been a part of it.
Got a good transformation story? Share in a comment below!