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

Put VRF in Your Office!

It’s no secret that Variable Refrigerant Flow (VRF) technology has a variety of benefits that are of value to our customers. In particular, CITY MULTI® from Mitsubishi Electric Cooling & Heating provides commercial buildings with energy-efficiency, cost savings, design flexibility, top-of-the-line controls and supreme comfort. In recent years, we’ve noticed more mechanical contractors and engineering firms choosing VRF for their own offices – and with great results! Every day you design, specify and install CITY MULTI; why not upgrade your office?

Get First-Hand Operational Experience

It’s one thing to install a VRF system and it’s another to work in a building with a zoned, INVERTER-driven system. By utilizing VRF in your own HVAC system, you can better understand how the controls, ventilation and individual heating and cooling units operate, troubleshoot issues more effectively and experience the customer’s perspective. As discussed in this newsletter’s featured project profile, Mechanical Engineering & Construction Company sees their CITY MULTI system as a sales and training tool.

“When we talk to clients or contractors who want us to do work in their building, we show our office as an example of what their system could be, what it looks like and what the flexibility is like. We also train our own technicians with it. If someone new starts, we’ll have them look and interact with all the equipment to show them how it operates on the job.”

Steve Wagner, Mechanical Engineering & Construction Company

Put Us to the Test!

Many of you have already partnered with us on projects around the area. Whether you’re building your company’s new office or retrofitting an existing one, become an Advanced Products Group (APG) client and experience the customer viewpoint. From initial concepts, to start-up and commissioning, we are happy to serve our customers with comprehensive technical support. As always, we’ll provide design assistance and work closely with you to achieve the system scope and layout that best fits your building.
For more information, email APG@aireco.com.

CITY MULTI for MEC2 Headquarters

Mechanical Engineering & Construction Company (MEC2) based out of Catonsville, Maryland, is an engineering and construction firm that serves as a mechanical HVAC contractor on many commercial, institutional and government projects in the DMV. In 2014, after 11 years in their offices, leadership decided it was time to find a new headquarters, complete with the mechanical systems of their choice. After purchasing a vacant 7-Up bottling distribution plant, with 15,000-square-feet of office space and a sports facility, MEC2 specified, designed and installed a new HVAC system. Their choice: CITY MULTI from Mitsubishi Electric. Below, you’ll hear from the company’s director of engineering on why Mitsubishi Electric VRF was the right fit for their facility.

Why did you want VRF for your offices? Were you going for a green certification?

As mechanical contractors and engineers, we understand that energy savings are paramount but we didn’t really need a green building certification in this case to know that we were developing an energy-efficient facility. In choosing an HVAC system, we were most concerned with energy efficiency, the flexibility of the system, our team’s familiarity with the product and the support from the local distributor. Aireco APG is our rep.

Why was Mitsubishi Electric VRF favored for this job?

We actually looked into using Mitsubishi Electric VRF before we took ownership of the new property. We specify CITY MULTI on many of our VRF projects and know it’s a quality product – we wouldn’t have considered it if it wasn’t. We wanted the flexibility and quality that the system provides and the simultaneous heating and cooling.

What equipment was specified for the building?

We used the air-source heat recovery system for the offices. Everything is ducted and we installed a Lossnay® Energy Recovery Ventilator (ERV) to bring in fresh air. All systems we have in the building are integrated and tied into one controls system. It’s worked out great and we haven’t had any issues. With proper maintenance and filter changes, the equipment really lasts.

How did APG provide support?

All the people at APG have been great to work with, informative and their response time is great. Honestly, the quality of the product and the proper support we receive through them are the two big factors why we use Mitsubishi Electric VRF. APG is not just a distributor; they’re not just a sales team. APG has technically-savvy people in the field who can speak to the controls and the units themselves. Plus, they always have the product in stock.

METUS Equipment Installed for MEC2:

  • (1) R2-Series Heat Recovery Outdoor Unit
  • (4) PEFY-P18NMAU-E2 Ceiling-Concealed Ducted Indoor Units
  • (3) PEFY-P12NMAU-E2 Ceiling-Concealed Ducted Indoor Units
  • (2) PEFY-P24NMAU-E2 Ceiling-Concealed Ducted Indoor Units
  • (1) PLFY-P18NBMU-E Four-Way Ceiling Cassette
  • (2) Lossnay® Energy Recovery Ventilators
  • (1) MSZ-GE09NA Wall-Mounted Indoor Unit
  • (1) AE-200 Centralized Controller
  • (10) Simple MA Controllers

Ventilation and Building Automation Products from Mitsubishi Electric

Mitsubishi Electric Cooling & Heating is known for its high-performance Variable Refrigerant Flow (VRF) systems, but they also provide top-of-the-line ventilation equipment and controls as well. At Advanced Products Group (APG), we have hands-on experience specifying and designing with these products in mind and can speak to their effectiveness and superior performance.

Lossnay® Energy Recovery Ventilators (ERV)

ERVs recover energy from stale exhaust air to preheat or precool incoming outside air. This is an energy-efficient way to precondition fresh air as it enters a building and reduce its impact on heating and cooling loads. The Lossnay ERV uses a cross-flow energy exchange core to prevent inbound air and exhaust air from mixing while crossing airflows.

  • Fully compatible with the Mitsubishi Electric AE-200A, AE-50A, and EW-50A Centralized Controllers
  • Compliant with LonWorks® and BACnet® interfaces
  • Additional dampers and adapters are not needed. Automatic mode allows the system to select recovery or bypass as required
  • Multi-functional LCD Remote Controller has a streamlined interface and can easily control Lossnay modes, fan speed and interlock operations.

PremiSys® Dedicated Outdoor Air Systems (DOAS) Family

PremiSys and PremiSys Fusion are premier solutions for conditioning outside air for commercial buildings. Designed to handle 100% of outdoor air with optional energy recovery, these systems offer premium features ideal for handling ventilation air in VRF applications.

  • A factory-mounted variable frequency drive (VFD) for supply air volume control and an onboard microprocessor system allow for better temperature and humidity control
  • Pre-engineered features provide semi-custom flexibility while maintaining the quality, consistency and value of the product
  • PremiSys systems allow you to take advantage of a split-system design and improve application flexibility
  • Multiple filter options available including MERV 8, 13 or a combination MERV 8/13

Diamond Controls™ Solutions

Diamond Controls is designed to streamline facility management and provides unprecedented levels of control over individual buildings and multiple buildings, whether located on a single site or across multiple locations. With VRF systems being specified in both new construction and retrofit projects, it’s likely you’ll need a building automation system that can handle all types of equipment. With Diamond Controls, you can integrate multiple mechanical systems, regardless of manufacturer, into a single interface.

  • Optimize efficiency through scheduling to maximize a building’s performance and minimize energy usage
  • With remote access and control, facility monitoring is remarkably simple. Use a laptop or tablet to manage comfort from anywhere
  • Diamond Controls software is secure, customizable, upgradable and scalable for your project’s needs. Advanced authentication ensures safety
  • New Diamond Controls Advanced Integration Panels offer custom application solutions within a pre-engineered panel

For more information on any of these building solutions, visit MitsubishiPro.com.