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.