Posts tagged ‘VRF’

July 19, 2017, 9:00 am

Project Profile: St. Patrick Catholic Church

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Since its inception, St. Patrick Catholic Church (St. Patrick’s) in Lake Forest, Illinois, has been a place for the community to gather. As the Lake Forest community grew over time, the 3,900-square-foot building underwent several structural renovations to accommodate new members and guests. In 2016, after tolerating many years without air conditioning, the church installed a new HVAC system in an effort to make the space more comfortable for the large congregation. It turned to our Variable Refrigerant Flow (VRF) technology.

Gianfranco Isaia, the church’s facilities and construction manager, said the church was able to bear the winter weather with boilers in the basement, but when it came to the humid summers in Illinois, St. Patrick’s didn’t have air conditioning to create a comfortable environment.

Isaia contacted John Domenz, vice president, North Town Mechanical Services, Roselle, Illinois. Domenz recommended our VRF because of its minimal piping, small equipment footprint and superior performance. He said, “We could install Mitsubishi Electric units in the space without damaging the building’s architecture. We’ve used Mitsubishi Electric products on several other projects in the past, and we’re always sold on the reliability of the systems.”

Upon Isaia’s agreement, installation began. Since completion, the experience has been very positive for St. Patrick’s. Isaia said, “When we unveiled the renovation, including the new [HVAC] units, over 150 people turned out. I had plenty of people come up to me and say how comfortable it was in the church. Since, I have not heard one person say they are a nuisance or obtrusive. And the units are cooling down the building in several minutes during the hot days. The temperature will drop by 10 degrees in less than 4 minutes.”

To read more about St. Patrick’s experience with VRF, check out the case study here.


Don’t miss Chicago area’s GreenBuilt Home Tour

Do you call the Chicago metropolitan area home? If so, check out the 2017 GreenBuilt Home Tour, July 22 – 23! You’ll have a chance to visit 11 different homes in the northern Illinois area, including four with our systems playing a key role. All homes on the tour are third-party verified by programs such as ENERGY STAR® for Homes, LEED® for Homes, DOE Zero Energy Ready Home, GreenStar and Passivhaus Institut – EnerPHit. We’re excited and honored to be a sponsor of the fifth annual tour. Learn more and buy tickets here.

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July 12, 2017, 9:00 am

VRF Eligible for Massachusetts Clean Energy Center Rebates

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As part of their commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions across the state, Massachusetts expanded its Clean Heating and Cooling rebate program to include VRF products in all building applications. Many of our VRF systems qualify as part of the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center’s (MassCEC) five-year, $30 million investment in clean heating technology.

A few of our VRF systems were added to the list of rebate-eligible products because of their esteemed reputation for efficiency. According to MassCEC Program Manager Josh Kessler, heating accounts for around 30 percent of the greenhouse gas emissions in Massachusetts. He said, “VRF is a high-performing technology. “There have been a lot of advances in recent years and we want to increase awareness of what the technology looks like.”

The rebates cover the incremental costs associated with upgrading to VRF from a traditional system or incorporating VRF in new building projects. A MassCEC qualified, pre-approved VRF project can earn a rebate between $800 per ton and $2,000 per ton up to $250,000 depending on the project type, the system’s heating capacity and the product’s heat recovery capability.

We will continue to work with MassCEC to provide world-class clean heating technology to residents and business owners throughout the state. Eric Dubin, Senior Director of Utilities and Performance Construction, Mitsubishi Electric, said, “Clean heat is one of the few places where reducing our carbon footprint can also save people a lot of money.”

For more information on this program, check out the MassCEC website here.

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July 5, 2017, 9:00 am

VRF’s Role in Oklahoma City’s River Revitalization

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The Oklahoma City (OKC) Boathouse District is central to the recent revitalization of the Oklahoma River. Its six buildings offer athletic training facilities, event spaces, activities for children and adults, and more. With such a wide range of cooling and heating needs across its six buildings, it’s no surprise the five newest Boathouse District buildings selected our Variable Refrigerant Flow (VRF) systems.

The first of the five buildings to receive VRF was Devon Boathouse, what OKC Boathouse Foundation Senior Director John Riggs called a “stunning, high-performance facility, and a designated U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Training Site. There’s a little bit of everything across its 33,000 square feet…” A facility with multiple spaces, and each space dedicated to occupant experience, it required an HVAC system that offered not only zoning abilities but advanced controls. “This is about access – the ability to remote in and change things on the fly. A high level of access and control means you can manage energy costs and customers’ comfort. VRF offers that kind of access,” said Riggs. Our systems also offered a flexible design and discreet operation.

After such a positive experience, the Boathouse District continued using VRF technology on other projects. The next was the Chesapeake Finish Line Tower, which required a flexible installation due to the structure’s castellated beams. After that was the CHK|Central Boathouse, whose performances spaces have a variety of heating loads, and VRF offered the ability to ramp up when the spaces were occupied and ramp down between performances.

Following those two projects, the SandRidge Youth Pavilion needed an HVAC system that could match its high-level, contemporary look, and our VRF was a fit. The most recent project, RIVERSPORT Rapids, is a high-performance building that combines the HVAC needs of all that came before it – zoning, flexibility and aesthetics.

We’re so honored and excited to see our systems applied to such an important, wide-ranging project. The Boathouse District has become a hugely popular area destination. It’s no wonder: its beautiful buildings offer spaces to train Olympians, take in a show, do recreational or sporting activities, or just sit back and enjoy a nice, comfortable afternoon. Learn more.

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July 4, 2017, 9:00 am

Happy 4th of July!

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June 14, 2017, 9:00 am

Project Profile: Primrose School of South Tampa

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Primrose Schools provide early childhood education at over 300 franchised locations across the country. One Florida location – the Primrose School of South Tampa, serving students from six weeks old to first grade – stands out as a feat of engineering and construction. Our Variable Refrigerant Flow (VRF) technology is a big part of that showcase, and has helped the school earn LEED® Silver certification alongside impressive energy savings.

This project was particularly interesting because of its urban location, which meant the selected HVAC system required a small footprint and a flexible, easy installation. Rick Radtke, who co-owns this and two other Primrose Schools with his wife, said, “A traditional Primrose has a condenser farm on the grounds, but I needed that space for playgrounds. With VRF, I could build a roof well – get all of the condensers up on the roof in a very small space.”

Mark Pavey, AIA, principal architect, Children’s Design Group, Gulf Shores, Alabama, hadn’t previously worked with VRF, but was impressed by the idea. “It seemed like a good technology for energy savings, and the ability to vary the output of the units to match the demand made it very attractive.”

Since installation, the project team is confident in their decisions. Pavey said, “The indoor air quality at this school is excellent. In a split system, you have to condition to the maximum load. With this system you match the load to the capacity; it’s a huge advantage for controlling humidity.” Radtke is also pleased with the school’s energy consumption. “I’ve built two other Primroses. This one is twice as big but my electricity bill runs about 20 percent less than the other two schools combined!”

To read more about why Radtke is “just absolutely in love with the system,” check out the case study here.

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May 31, 2017, 9:00 am

Project Profile: Ishpeming Housing Commission

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Over the last few years, the average age of residents at the Ishpeming Housing Commission has increased. Residents of this 88-unit, 67,750-square-foot apartment building in Ishpeming, Michigan, used to move in during their 60s and 70s. Now, they move in during their 80s and 90s. The older residents required better indoor air quality, so a recent renovation was needed to bring modern-day air conditioning to the 1960s facility. Our Variable Refrigerant Flow (VRF) technology was selected for its easy installation and reliable comfort.

Evelyn Valente-Heikkila, the facility’s executive director/manager, noted, “the people living here now have a lot of breathing problems. The last few summers have gotten very humid, and when it’s so hot and humid, ceiling fans just do not do the job. Our residents can’t breathe.” With the need for cooling and healthy air established, the search for a solution began.

Traditional technology was not an option. “Each apartment is basically a concrete cubicle, so plumbing for a/c would have been very difficult,” said Valente-Heikkila. Window units were nixed for their aesthetics. Then Valente-Heikkila saw a TV ad for zoned technology. She went online, did some research, and was amazed to discover how well VRF would solve her challenge.

After a quick installation, the system was up and running. Valente-Heikkila said, “We’ve been very satisfied and the residents were so happy to get air conditioning. I haven’t found one resident who doesn’t like it!”

To read more about the project’s easy and effective installation, check out the case study here.

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March 23, 2017, 9:00 am

Project Profile: Burton Center for Arts & Technology

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The Burton Center for Arts & Technology (BCAT), Salem, Virginia, serves almost 800 students. At BCAT, students can take classes on a wide variety of topics, such as automotive technology, computer information technology, culinary arts and cosmetology.

When the school’s old HVAC systems needed replacing, BCAT selected our Variable Refrigerant Flow (VRF) technology to ensure comfort and efficiency for its students and faculty.

Melinda Ruble, president, MDR Engineering, Roanoke, Virginia, had the challenge to design a new HVAC system for BCAT. “The old boiler was entering the end of its useful life. The school also wanted cooling; some of the school was air conditioned by window units, but in some places, there was no a/c at all. The county is really energy conscious and had made a big push for energy efficient designs, so the eventual HVAC system’s energy efficiency came into play.”

After exploring various technologies, Ruble believed VRF could meet the demands of the county in addition to the needs of the school. She said, “Geothermal was too expensive and there was no space for wells. VRF, though, could be as energy-efficient as geothermal, but without the expense.” The school agreed with Ruble’s suggestion.

With VRF decided on, the school selected Mitsubishi Electric as the brand of choice. Ruble said, “Mitsubishi [Electric] requires certification programs of its contractors, making for a better install. I’ve had much greater success with Mitsubishi [Electric] than other manufacturers.”

The school chose to use VRF in key areas to take advantage of its benefits. “We put VRF, for example, in places with multiple offices where individual comfort was most important. From there, we could then piggyback on the system to get some extra classrooms,” said Ruble.

Since installation, the new HVAC system not only has improved the learning environment for everyone at BCAT, but has made it a comfortable one. To read more about BCAT, check out the full case study here.

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March 21, 2017, 9:00 am

How VRF Addresses Educational Facilities’ IAQ Challenges

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As VRF has continued to innovate and improve, it has evolved from being a good solution for educational facilities to the solution. Read more in our K-12 Educational Facilities White Paper.

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March 9, 2017, 9:00 am

Project Profile: The Covenant School

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The Covenant School was founded 30 years ago in Charlottesville, Virginia. The lower school, for students in pre-K through 6th grade, is located in a 65,000-square-foot historic brick building dating back to 1935. With almost 300 students, faculty and staff members, the school needs to operate seamlessly so when the old boiler system started to fail, it needed to find a new heating system as soon as possible. The Covenant School selected our Variable Refrigerant Flow (VRF) technology to answer that need, providing zone control, air filtration and the added bonus of cooling.

To find a suitable system, the school called in Jay Taggart, school board member and the President of W.E. Brown, Charlottesville – the project’s installing contractor. Taggart compared two systems – a water-based chiller and VRF – and made a recommendation to the school. He said, “Everyone agreed that ductwork couldn’t happen, and we were worried the roof couldn’t handle the weight of a chiller, so we came in with a CITY MULTI® solution. With CITY MULTI, there wouldn’t be nearly as much equipment on the roof as a water-based solution, making VRF significantly lighter. Also, CITY MULTI offered simultaneous heating and cooling in a real way because of the heat recovery, and a more detailed level of zoning. And because refrigerant piping is smaller than water piping, VRF offered a more compact solution.”

Installation proceeded during the summer while the students were away, ensuring an easy process for the project team and school. Since the completion of the project, the school has seen improvement in comfort and health. Taggart said, “This is the first time the building has ever been fully air conditioned or had air filtration, so the air quality has gone up drastically. Many teachers say they’ve noticed an impact on their health: fewer allergies and colds.”

Between the improved indoor air quality and increase in control, The Covenant School can now offer a comfortable learning environment for its students and teachers year-round. To read more about The Covenant School, check out the case study here.

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February 23, 2017, 9:00 am

Project Profile: Fogo de Chão

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In recent years, Fogo de Chão® (Fogo), the famous Brazilian steakhouse, headquartered in Dallas, Texas, opened a New York City location directly across the street from the Museum of Modern Art, on W. 53rd St. between 5th and 6th Avenues. For its HVAC needs, Fogo selected our Variable Refrigerant Flow (VRF) zoning technology to ensure that guests remain comfortable while dining. Our technology offered the company cost savings over the chilled water system that was originally specified.

The original HVAC design, a water plant on the roof, posed issues of code-compliance, cost and unsightly ductwork for Fogo. The HVAC contractor on the job, Stanley Berger, CEO, Arista Air Conditioning Corp., Queens, New York, proposed VRF as the solution to avoid any issues and to offer the restaurant cost savings. Berger said, “VRF’s simultaneous cooling and heating capability means you can have heat coming from one handler, cooling from another – any combination you want. There’s tremendous energy savings to that.”

Following Berger’s proposition to use VRF, Fogo did an energy analysis to see how the technology would perform in comparison to the chilled water system. VRF dropped the current load by 300 amps, offering tremendous cost savings. However, Fogo was still curious about VRF’s operation, and was unsure if zoning would work well for the restaurant. After seeing VRF in action at multiple installation sites across New York City, Fogo was convinced.

Since installation, VRF has worked tremendously in the new location. It has allowed Fogo to take advantage of the cost savings and to offer complete comfort for dining guests.

To read more about Fogo de Chão’s success with VRF, check out the full case study here.

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