Strawberry Mansion, the largest of seven historic Fairmount Park houses open to the public, is one of the most celebrated homes in Philadelphia. In 2009, the 224-year-old house closed for four years of extensive renovation. One of the most pressing needs of the rehabilitation was a complete replacement of the 1930s radiators, steam and condensate piping in favor of a new heating and air-conditioning system.
For an historic home, a proper and efficient heating and cooling system is essential. The owners needed to preserve the mansion’s legacy by finding a system that would maintain total climate control for the antique collection while having an unobtrusive impact on the fabric of the historic 10,000 square-foot house.
Familiar with our air source systems, the design team liked the exceptional efficiency of VRF zoning technology. The project was a perfect application for the 2-pipe VRF zoning system. Not only would the system operate more efficiently with the existing geothermal field, but it would also save the owners $50,000 upfront when compared to a more traditional 4-pipe system. Not to mention, a 4-pipe water-based system was not practical to install – the 200-year-old stone walls could not accommodate many of the 24 inches wide by 8 inches deep chases required for the 4-pipe design. The 2-pipe system and discrete indoor units could easily fit in the old chase walls and ceiling where there was no space for ducting. Plus, the flexibility of the refrigerant lines and diversity of indoor units were perfectly adaptable for the restrictions of the structure.
Strawberry Mansion is yet another example of how VRF zoning technology is the HVAC solution best suited for historic preservation and adaptive reuse. We offer a wide diversity of indoor air handlers and flexibility of refrigerant line configuration. The Strawberry Mansion collection, which had suffered from decades of no air conditioning or humidity control, displayed noticeable differences in preservation within just a few months. Now, the property is a model of 21st century sustainability and ecological responsibility.
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