Posts tagged ‘VRF Zoning’

July 30, 2014, 10:07 am

Contracting Business Features Mark Kuntz in 2014 Executive Roundtable

July 30_Contracting Business Roundtable ImageEarlier this year, Contracting Business asked Mark Kuntz, our senior vice president, product strategy and engineering, to participate in its 2014 Executive Roundtable.

The roundtable is an annual discussion with leaders in the HVAC industry, covering topics such as legislative changes, technological advances, manpower shortages and the economy. Mark provides valuable insight regarding renewable energy, regulatory issues and challenges in the HVAC industry that VRF zoning technology can help solve.

Read more from Mark Kuntz in the June edition of Contracting Business on Page 30.

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July 24, 2014, 9:30 am

After a Decade, Our VRF Zoning Systems Are Still Thriving

Ten Years of VRF

VRF zoning systems installed in 2004 at the
University of Southern California.

Ten years ago, we introduced our Variable Refrigerant Flow (VRF) zoning systems as a solution for many HVAC needs. Soon after, the state-of-the-art technology was tapped as the HVAC solution in a University of Southern California sorority house. Sirius Mechanical, Moreno Valley, California, was so impressed by our system’s efficiency and functionality at the sorority house that it decided to specialize in our systems for both its commercial and residential work. “There’s just no better energy-efficient system,” said Randy Scholnick, director of sales for Sirius Mechanical.

The features in our VRF zoning products have improved over the years. The systems have become even more efficient, better designed and quieter, while continuing to require less piping, fewer fittings and minimal routine maintenance. Today, VRF zoning systems are 25 percent more efficient than traditional systems with many users seeing energy bills at half of what is expected. What’s more? The average life expectancy of our CITY MULTI® VRF zoning systems is 25 to 30 years, versus 15 to 20 years for a traditional commercial rooftop system, with a typical five- to seven-year payback period.

“This [Mitsubishi Electric VRF] product line has come pretty far in the last 10 years,” Scholnick concluded. “I can’t imagine that this technology will ever be obsolete. That’s why I think it is here to stay and going to get better and better.”

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July 22, 2014, 12:15 pm

We’re Talking VRF Zoning with BUILDINGS Magazine

Tony Dellamaria, vice president and group publisher of BUILDINGS magazine, stopped by our booth at this year’s AIA Convention. Check out Tony’s interview with Mike Smith, our senior product marketing manager, on Variable Refrigerant Flow (VRF) zoning technology – the fastest growing category in the HVAC industry today:

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June 26, 2014, 10:24 am

H2i® R2-Series Brings Home Excellence in Design Award

ImageWe’re proud to announce that our Hyper-Heating INVERTER™ (H2i®) R2-Series Variable Refrigerant Flow (VRF) zoning system won appliance DESIGN‘s Excellence in Design Bronze Award. The competition recognizes outstanding achievements in innovation, design and functionality each year.

The winning designs were determined by an independent panel of five judges, based on four major criteria including aesthetics, human factors, innovation and technical merits. These categories included industry factors such as simplicity, strong user functionality, energy- and cost-savings and environmental footprint.

Click here to learn more about the Excellence in Design awards. Click here for more information on the H2i R2-Series.

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June 24, 2014, 12:52 pm

The Path to Acceptance: History of VRF Zoning Regulations in the U.S.

Variable Refrigerant Flow (VRF) zoning technology is the fastest growing HVAC technology in the industry today. Mitsubishi Electric introduced the technology to the U.S. more than 10 years ago and has spent the last decade building the category nationwide.

VRF zoning now fills an enormous gap in the country’s cooling and heating needs, but in the early 2000s there was little awareness of this technology. We realized then that the success of VRF zoning technology in the U.S. required a paradigm shift in how the industry and end users thought about cooling and heating solutions.

To initiate this shift we focused on two approaches: to build training and market education at the grass-roots level and to simultaneously spearhead government regulations.

We knew that certification was critical to industry acceptance and, by extension, to end users. We became active members of the HVAC and energy communities, chairing ASHRAE committees, participating in DOE discussions, meeting with members of Congress and becoming active in AHRI. We are proud to have pioneered the introduction of this technology to the U.S. and the subsequent regulatory acceptance.

We have achieved many milestones already and today have an entire department dedicated to advocating for the unique performance capabilities of VRF zoning in the U.S. To see how far we’ve come, here are some of the regulatory milestones that have paved the way to official industry recognition of VRF zoning technology:

June 24_History of VRF Zoning Regulations in the U.S. Image

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May 1, 2014, 11:20 am

Project Profile: King County Housing Authority

The King County Housing Authority (KCHA) has provided affordable housing services in the Seattle area since 1939. KCHA decided to consolidate its multiple offices and departments under one roof in 2011.

KCHA purchased a 36,000-square-foot, 1980s retail/warehouse space with the goal to renovate it to meet operational needs. They wanted the building to be extremely energy efficient and the work needed to be completed within the confines of a tight budget. Ecotope, Inc., a local engineering firm, specified our Variable Refrigerant Flow (VRF) zoning system for the job.

With the help of our VRF zoning system and advanced controls capabilities, KCHA achieved an annual Energy Use Index (EUI) of 26 KBtu/sf/yr in its first year – 70 percent less than the national annual EUI average for office buildings. The building also received an ENERGY STAR® rating of 97, and won second place in ASHRAE’s 2014 Technology Award for Systems Innovation.

“Working with an extremely tight budget, it was a colossal challenge to forge a high-performance building out of an old, worn out retail space,” said Greg Belding, principal at LEED®-accredited Rice Fergus Miller Architects, who designed the space. “We could not have achieved an energy-saving design without the ingenious VRF [zoning] engineering from Mitsubishi Electric. A conventional VAV forced air system would never have worked.”

To learn more about King County Housing Authority’s renovation, click here to read the complete case study.

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April 23, 2014, 1:58 pm

Project Testimonial: Strawberry Mansion

Check out Jeff Harper, project engineer, Carter Mechanical, Paoli, Pa., discussing how our VRF zoning systems helped minimize the demolition impact and accommodate the space constraints presented by the historic Strawberry Mansion.

Click here for more testimonials from Jeff and Melissa Trotter, vice president of the Committee of 1926 that oversees the preservation of Strawberry Mansion. Click here to read the full case study on Strawberry Mansion’s transformation.

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April 17, 2014, 2:33 pm

Project Profile: The Sustainability Institute, Charleston, S.C.

The Sustainability Institute (SI) in Charleston, S.C., is an award-winning, nonprofit, 501c(3) organization dedicated to encouraging South Carolinians to conserve energy, both at home and at work. SI, along with its performance assessment and construction partner CharlestonWISE, offers home performance evaluations, ASHRAE-level commercial energy audits and residential general contracting.

SI had big plans when it purchased 113 Calhoun Street as its new office space in 2010. It wanted to renovate the former Charleston Single House property to create a model of sustainable building practices.

SI was familiar with ductless cooling and heating systems as CharlestonWISE specifies them for its customers. After a standard pre-retrofit assessment, the team decided to use our M-Series systems as the HVAC solution for its new space.

The team installed four different types of indoor units to provide potential customers with an idea on how each unit would look in their homes. The property’s seven-zone system included wall-mounted, horizontal-ducted, floor-mounted and 4-way cassette indoor units.

Our system helped SI achieve a 75 percent reduction in energy costs, and our need for limited ductwork freed up enough space to install a full-sized kitchen in place of an earlier kitchenette. Individualized temperature control for each zone was an added bonus for the office staff.

SI offers tours, workshops and even special events, and serves as a research laboratory and energy usage monitoring center. It also reached its goal as serving as the city’s staple for energy-efficiency and sustainable living.

To learn more about the transformation of 113 Calhoun Street, click here for the Charleston Sustainability Institute Case Study.

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April 2, 2014, 2:23 pm

Project Profile: Shadyside Inn, Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh’s Shadyside Inn opened in 1984 and has since hosted the likes of Paul Newman, Buzz Aldrin and the royal family of Saudi Arabia. Built in the 1950s, the high-end, 100-suite, apartment-style hotel complex lacked a major feature – air conditioning. Comfort is a top priority of the Shadyside Inn and in 2011, the owners decided it was time to bring the comfort it provides its guest to a whole new level by installing an HVAC system.

Jonathan Plesset, CEO and owner of Shadyside Inn, reached out to one of our Diamond Contractors, Climatech, Inc., who recommended our ductless system for the job. Climatech initially installed two indoor units in each of the 44 suites located in the hotel’s main building to get an idea about the system’s installation process and, more importantly, its performance.

The installation could not have gone more smoothly. Shadyside Inn only needed to close for two days for the engineers to pre-drill the holes in each room. The actual installation of the units was completed in a day, with zero complaints from the guests at the time about noise or inconvenience. In fact, the guests were complimentary of the hotel’s new comfort system, noting how quiet and efficient the units are and the convenience of the zone control feature. The convenient installation process coupled with the noticeable benefits the system provided the 44 suites led Plesset to proceed with the full installation in 2013 by installing units in each of Shadyside Inn’s 100 suites as well as its two conference rooms.

The installation of our ductless systems provided a win-win for all. Now, Shadyside Inn can provide guests with constant, optimal comfort in the most energy-efficient, environmentally-friendly way possible. Not to mention, it cut the hotel’s utility bills in half.

To learn more about the benefits of our ductless systems, visit

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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.

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