Posts tagged ‘VRF’

December 6, 2017, 9:00 am

Project Profile: Bank of San Antonio

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After breaking ground on a new, 56,000-square-foot office space in 2015, the Bank of San Antonio in Texas needed to find an energy-efficient HVAC system that offered quality comfort and control. The search ended by selecting Variable Refrigerant Flow (VRF) technology from Mitsubishi Electric Cooling & Heating (Mitsubishi Electric).

“We were looking for a system that was energy efficient but that could also provide comfort and produce the temperatures that we needed throughout the organization,” said Tom Moreno, executive vice president of operations and technology for Bank of San Antonio. Moreno and his team originally planned to install traditional HVAC technology, but with the assistance of local contractor, Flo-Aire Service Inc., and engineering consultant, Cleary Zimmermann Engineers, they decided to consider VRF.

Eddie McDuff, vice president, Flo-Aire Service, knew zone control was the best option for the bank. “[VRF] is a newer way that we’ve been seeing a lot of offices use air conditioning.” After consulting with long-time distributor, Mike Fauver from Texas Air Products, McDuff recommended Mitsubishi Electric. “Mitsubishi Electric was the first manufacturer that we got trained on. They’re easy to install and start up, and they also offer a good warranty. We’ve had really good success with them.”

Since project completion, Mitsubishi Electric’s VRF system has provided precise control and comfort for the bank. Moreno noted that the flexibility of VRF technology has been a success, not just for employees, but clients too. “If our team is too hot or too cold, it will affect productivity. Our clients should also get good service, and ensuring that our team is comfortable allows us to fulfill our promise to our clients that they will receive an exceptional experience.”

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December 4, 2017, 9:00 am

Sign up for ASHRAE’s December Webinar on VRF and Building Integrations!

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Registration is now open for the free webinar, “VRF and Building Integrations: Options and How to Choose Among Them”, presented by ASHRAE Journal on Thursday, December 7 from 2 – 3 p.m. EST.

Presenters include our own Kevin Miskewicz, LEED® Green Associate and director, commercial marketing; and Tom Greco, national strategic sales manager, controls solutions. Attendees will explore the range of integration options available to owners and managers interested in maximizing efficiency and access to information across their mechanical systems in order to achieve optimal performance of their VRF system.

Learning Objectives include:

  1. Understand benefits of system integration for building owners and managers.
  2. Understand the range of integration options available to building managers and owners.
  3. Understand the benefits and challenges associated with each style of integration.
  4. Understand why integration that supports efficient management of Variable Refrigerant Flow (VRF) systems is of particular benefit.

Click here to register for the webinar.

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October 18, 2017, 9:00 am

Preparing Facilities For Multigenerational Travelers

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It’s been official for a while now: multigenerational traveling is a trend. Multigenerational trips – defined as those involving at least three generations – create both challenges and opportunities for facility managers at hotels and lodges. Given that 47 percent of people over the age of 45 plan to take a multigenerational trip next year, based on an AARP survey, facility managers and building owners might find these tips helpful:

  • Public spaces like restaurants must be able to accommodate diverse groups; facilities may need to purchase larger tables and different kinds of chairs.
  • Guests of all ages are interested in well-maintained grounds. For older guests, grounds are a space of relaxation and contemplation. For children, active recreation.
  • It’s great to be with family, but it’s also exhausting. Guests will need private spaces to help them relax; these spaces should cater to each generation’s need for physical comfort and relaxation.
  • Family-friendly guest rooms can require more maintenance. Multigenerational guests may want to cook full meals and bring their pets.
  • With older guests, accessibility and safety can be a concern. Slip and trip hazards must be addressed.
  • Younger guests may embrace energy-efficient practices, but guests of other generations may leave lights on and HVAC systems running while out, and expect fresh bedding and towels each day.
  • As always, guest comfort is paramount. With different sleep and activity schedules, each generation creates its own peak load time, making versatile and quiet mechanical systems a necessity.

To read more about how to prepare for multigenerational traveling, check out our Facility Management newsletter here.

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October 4, 2017, 9:00 am

Educational Facilities That Go Beyond Academics

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There has been a push within our school systems to conduct learning beyond the classroom. This new approach is called “instruments of learning,” and refers to elements throughout the building being used as learning tools. Some of these building elements include landscape design, mechanical systems, water conservation and interior design. As facility managers seek to incorporate cutting edge solutions in their buildings, schools are using them to better educate students about school operations and sustainability practices.

  • Landscape Design: This includes evaluating the impacts of the school on the environment while also protecting landscaping and natural features. This can educate students about how to incorporate environmentally friendly design solutions, such a erosion control, storm water retention or using greenery needing little irrigation.
  • Energy-Efficient Mechanical Systems: This involves incorporating sustainable technology into the curriculum so students can understand the design and environmental impacts of the systems that keep them comfortable throughout the day. Efficient HVAC and controls systems, such as Variable Refrigerant Flow (VRF) technology, can teach students how to reduce peak electrical demand and offer cost-saving benefits.
  • Water Conservation: This involves the school collecting rainwater for toilet flushing and site irrigation. In addition, waterless or low-flow toilets minimize wastewater and insulated piping can reduce hot water waste. As an educational tool, facility managers can install rainwater gauges, allowing students to monitor annual rainfall.
  • Interior Design: This comprises selecting interior elements that reflect the school’s appreciation for the environment. Facility managers can consider incorporating recyclable colored tiles or carpeting to represent the school’s efforts to protect the natural environment. This teaches students that materials, in addition to paper, can be recycled.

At Mitsubishi Electric Cooling & Heating (Mitsubishi Electric), we support facility managers’ efforts to make their buildings more educational and sustainable. In this issue and on our website, you’ll learn about our smart, flexible technologies that support the instruments of learning trend.

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September 13, 2017, 9:00 am

Designing For The Students of Today

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According to School Planning & Management magazine, there’s a direct connection between students’ physical environment and their academic achievement. An environment that encourages collaborative and individual learning has become the standard for today’s schools. As educators are working to encourage these types of learning within the classroom, so can architects with facility design and selection of mechanical systems.

Architects are challenged to design environments that include a combination of flexible spaces, such as open and private classrooms, as well as individual and collaborative study rooms. Architects often include design elements that evoke a feeling of openness for students, such as glass or natural lighting. These design elements, among others, allow students to see and interact with their surroundings, creating visual and social connectivity.

Architects also can consider highly efficient mechanical systems for the facility. Over the course of a school day, occupancy levels within a space vary, and such extremes can make it difficult to keep a space comfortable for students. Therefore, an HVAC system that meets a student’s comfort needs can enhance the educational experience. HVAC systems, such as Variable Refrigerant Flow (VRF) technology, maximize square footage while offering the individual control, zoning capabilities and quiet operation necessary for an educational facility.

With flexible spaces and efficient mechanical equipment, architects are able to design the ideal educational environment for today’s students. At Mitsubishi Electric, we support architects’ plans for these applications. Learn more about applying smart technologies in our most recent White Paper, “Variable Refrigerant Flow: A Versatile HVAC Solution for K-12 Educational Facilities.”

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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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