Why Banks Should Consider VRF Systems

Variable Refrigerant Flow (VRF) systems are becoming more widely recognized as the primary heating and cooling technology of the future and the optimal choice for businesses and institutions interested in reducing operational costs while increasing occupant comfort and sustainability. Starting with the benefits listed below, this issue describes why banks and credit unions should consider VRF systems from Mitsubishi Electric Cooling & Heating.

Zoning and Comfort Control
Most banks have a teller area, a few small offices, a conference room, a break room and an IT closet. VRF’s zoning capabilities offer banks the ability to control each space individually and maintain temperatures appropriate for how the space is used. The teller area, where employees work with customers, will have different conditioning needs than an infrequently occupied conference room. Equipped with an INVERTER-driven compressor, a bank’s VRF system accounts for those differences and adjusts to maintain setpoints as loads change with occupancy, the weather or the time of day.

Control Across Sites
Banks with multiple branches can control VRF systems from a central location and provide levels of remote access to facility managers.

Cost and Value
VRF is known for using only the precise amount of energy needed to maintain the preferred temperature for each zone. This energy efficiency results in lower utility bills compared to what banks would pay with a conventional system. Less well known is how a growing VRF market and greater familiarity with VRF among HVAC contractors has reduced the difference between the upfront cost for VRF systems compared to conventional systems, especially when working with a Mitsubishi Electric Diamond Contractor®. Also, the total cost to install a VRF system is often lower than the cost to install a conventional system due to factors including reduced ductwork and the relative lightness and compact size of VRF equipment. All of these elements make the apparent “premium” a bank might pay for a VRF system negligible compared to the value.

Indoor Air Quality
To provide a healthier environment for bank customers and staff, Mitsubishi Electric VRF systems continuously remove particulates and contaminants from the air. Each zone is equipped with its own washable filter and each filter can last up to 10 years, eliminating the cost and inconvenience of regularly replacing filters. Additionally, the continual operation of VRF systems during part-load conditions helps dehumidify each zone.

Quiet Operation
VRF systems run quietly compared to conventional HVAC systems, making them ideal for professional environments such as banks. Mitsubishi Electric’s CITY MULTI® N-Generation offers four low-noise patterns, in addition to the rated pattern, so banks can ensure customers and staff are never disturbed by operational noise while conducting business.

We’ve built our reputation at Aireco Advanced Products Group (APG) on the expertise and support we provide to help HVAC professionals design and install high-performance VRF solutions for applications of all types. Whether we are providing equipment and support for a large financial services brand as part of Mitsubishi Electric’s National Accounts program, or facilitating the retrofit of a local credit union, we deliver results. To partner with the APG team on any of your upcoming projects, contact us at APG@aireco.com.

VRF for Banking Applications: Tidemark Federal Credit Union

Founded in 1959, Tidemark Federal Credit Union provides financial services to 15,000 members in Delaware and Maryland. When considering HVAC systems for their branch locations in Long Neck, Delaware and Selbyville, Delaware, Tidemark knew VRF would meet their needs and they trusted Allen & Shariff Engineering, LLC (ASE) to provide recommendations and MEP services. Based in Columbia, MD, ASE has provided design build and management services for large-scale construction projects around the world since 1993. Working closely with APG, ASE specified a VRF system with heat recovery from Mitsubishi Electric Cooling & Heating. Chesapeake Climate Control, with offices in Glen Burnie, Maryland and Frankford, Delaware, performed the install. Read the interview below for insights from the project’s mechanical engineer on the system and application.

Why did Tidemark Federal Credit Union (TFCU) choose VRF?

TFCU chose VRF because of its current popularity in the marketplace. Their team is pretty savvy, and they were already aware of the zoning and energy efficiency benefits. They were also aware that the installed costs for VRF systems have decreased in the past few years, which makes the costs comparable to what they would spend on more conventional split-system heat pumps. Another benefit they get from VRF is the passive dehumidification that a VRF system provides by being able to operate at part load conditions. Humidity is an issue we deal with anywhere on the Delmarva Peninsula.

Why was Mitsubishi Electric VRF favored for this job?

I utilized Mitsubishi Electric as the basis of design and recommended it to TFCU. Mitsubishi has been the basis of my designs since I began designing VRF systems about 10 years ago. When I design with Mitsubishi products, I know the quality of the equipment and the support I’ll receive from APG puts us on track for success. The contractor elected to go forward with my recommendation, which I assume they did in part because the pricing was competitive and they have a good relationship with Mitsubishi and APG.

What equipment was specified for the buildings?

The Long Neck and Selbyville locations were built at the same time and have the same design. We specified a CITY MULTI R2-Series system with heat recovery and a mixture of ducted and ductless indoor units. Each location has an AE-200A Centralized Controller.

What services and did ASE provide and how did APG provide support? 

ASE provided full MEP design services for both buildings and facilitated the owner’s decision to use VRF. APG provided support during the design process by reviewing the Mitsubishi equipment selections we made using the Diamond Systems Builder software and offering advice and suggestions concerning controls and equipment options. I am sure APG also assisted the mechanical contractor during installation and at startup.

APG was one of the first distributors in our area to provide comprehensive support and training for VRF. Their services and expertise are a big part of why firms like mine continue to specify Mitsubishi Electric products in particular. Together, we’re delivering results for our customers and giving VRF a good name in the region.

METUS Equipment Installed (for each bank):

  • (1) R2-Series Heat Recovery Outdoor Unit
  • (5) PEFY-PNMAU-E3 Ceiling-Concealed Ducted Indoor Units
  • (1) PKFY-P30NKMU-E2 Wall-Mounted Indoor Unit
  • (2) PEFY-P24NMAU-E2 Ceiling-Concealed Ducted Indoor Units
  • (3) PMFY-PNBMU-ER5 One-way Ceiling Cassettes
  • (1) AE-200 Centralized Controller