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A challenge of the Reynolds Building’s restoration was replacing the outdated HVAC system with a modern, energy-efficient system that could meet the building’s needs.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.
It’s the start of a new year which means school is back in session. That means it’s perfect timing to read our latest white paper, which discusses how to face HVAC challenges that may affect in K-12 educational facilities. Often HVAC challenges in the educational environment involve occupant comfort and air control. Other concerns to K-12 educational facilities, though, include: stringent air quality requirements (especially pertaining to ventilation), the need for low noise levels, a variety of comfort needs to meet a variety of spaces and occupants, and a preference for simple maintenance.
Our white paper explains why Variable Refrigerant Flow (VRF) zoning technology is a smart solution for these challenges. It highlights how VRF offers industry-leading efficiencies, integration with ventilation systems, advanced filtration systems, whisper-quiet operation and year-round performance. This white paper explains to readers how solutions are possible with VRF and addresses any misconceptions about the technology.
Click here to read the entire K-12 Educational Facilities white paper.
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.
In recent years, there has been an effort in Detroit to restore the city’s historic downtown area. This rehabilitation included the David Whitney Building (David Whitney), which sat vacant for 15 years prior to its recent renovation. The mixed-use building now offers luxury residences, the Aloft Detroit at the David Whitney (Aloft), a restaurant and a bar.
A challenging, yet essential component of the David Whitney’s restoration, was selecting an HVAC system that could meet the 100-year-old building’s needs. The new system needed to serve the large space without disrupting any of its historic charm.
During the planning stages, developer Vince Dattilo, vice president of construction and project management, Roxbury Group, Detroit, and his team were concerned with the high cost and feasibility of running ductwork. Variable Refrigerant Flow (VRF) technology was appealing for its avoidance of this issue, as well as its impressive efficiency and reliability. Energy modeling supported VRF as the best option: Going with VRF would bring the original $6.8 million estimate for a forced-air system down to $5 million.
The project team selected VRF from Mitsubishi Electric. In addition to solving the need for low utility costs, Mitsubishi Electric’s indoor units’ clean design contributed to maintaining the building’s architectural integrity. Further, both guests and employees of Aloft appreciate the system’s high level of consistency and ability to provide personalized comfort in each individual room. Scott Mondock, Aloft’s director of engineering, called Mitsubishi Electric VRF “probably one of the best systems I’ve ever had a chance to work with.”
To learn more about how the David Whitney restoration has served as a catalyst for continued city of Detroit restoration, read the case study here.
Registration is now open for our free, hour-long webinar, “Advances in VRF Technology: Satisfy Cold Climate and Other Application Challenges”!
On Thursday, December 8, 2 p.m. – 3 p.m. EST, Architectural Record will host the webinar. Presenters will include our own Kevin Miskewicz, LEED® Green Associate and director, commercial marketing; and Greg Hosselbarth, CEM, LEED AP BD+C, regional manager, commercial. Attendees will learn how advanced heating technology and Variable Refrigerant Flow (VRF) are an impressive combination in cold-weather climates.
Click here to register for the webinar.
St. Ignatius Loyola School, Cincinnati, is the largest private school in the state. Since its original structure dates back to the 1950s, many of the classrooms did not have air conditioning, making the warmer months unbearable. In the winter, the school’s low-pressure boiler consumed a lot of gas, and in turn, cost a lot of money to run adequately. With over 1,000 K-8 students enrolled, the school’s HVAC system needed an upgrade in both comfort and efficiency.
The new system needed to meet three objectives: flexible design, easy maintenance and improved controls for cost savings. Tim Schweikert, the school’s physical plant manager, liked Mitsubishi Electric’s Variable Refrigerant Flow (VRF) technology because it offered quiet operation and efficiency. As the only two-pipe VRF system, it would also allow for flexible design for a space-constrained building.
According to Schweikert, the VRF system has exceeded expectations: “When we compare our utility bill to the one from last year, it’s about the same. Keep in mind that we didn’t have air conditioning before and that this new bill includes at least 12 weeks of air conditioning. So it’s like we got free air conditioning.”
In addition to the school’s new cooling capabilities, the system has also performed well during one of Cincinnati’s coldest winters in 15 years. Despite temperatures dropping well below zero degrees Fahrenheit, the system kept up, providing exceptional comfort.
To learn more about the benefits of VRF in St. Ignatius Loyola School, be sure to check out the case study here.
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.