Mitsubishi Electric VRF Helps Modernize Historic Baltimore Mansion

The Garrett-Jacobs Mansion is a historic, four-story home in the Mount Vernon neighborhood of Baltimore, Maryland. Built in the late 1800s, the celebrated building – preserved by state historical easements – has been home base for the Engineering Society of Baltimore, Inc. (Engineers Club) since 1961. Beyond hosting their activities, the Engineers Club also opens up the venue to the community for weddings, banquets and other private events.

A few years ago, the Engineers Club realized patrons required more accessibility to the upper floors of the mansion. The Club decided to build an adjacent 5,600 square-foot tower that connects to the building, providing access to an elevator, stairs, accessible washrooms and additional storage.

Having a long-standing relationship with the Engineers Club, Mitsubishi Electric Cooling & Heating (Mitsubishi Electric) sales representative Smiley El Abd, worked with APG to provide CITY MULTI® Variable Refrigerant Flow (VRF) to serve both the new building and parts of the mansion.

The project, known as the “vertical expansion” has been years in the making. Cory Colassard, vice president of Spears/Votta & Associates, Inc., Baltimore, Maryland, – the engineer responsible for HVAC design – noted that the new VRF system is part of a plan to modernize the mansion’s cooling and heating systems to Mitsubishi Electric VRF.

“This project is an opportunity to improve the building, improve operating costs, give [the Engineers Club] flexibility and allow them to have individual temperature control in multiple rooms,” noted Colassard. “It’s an improvement that’s generating a master plan for moving forward instead of putting a ‘Band-Aid’ on the conditioning issues as they arise.”

After receiving a VRF system donation from Mitsubishi Electric and APG a few years ago to condition the mansion’s library and drawing room, Dale Whitehead, the executive director of the Engineers Club said they’ve been happy to renovate with Mitsubishi Electric again.

“That system has worked perfectly. It’s never broken down, it had minimal cost for maintenance – it’s always worked,” explained Whitehead. “Everyone’s thrilled with how the whole system works. After the original donation we worked on with Smiley – which was so great – it was a no-brainer Mitsubishi [Electric] was who we were going to go to for this project.”

In addition to the four floors of the vertical expansion, the new system conditions some rooms on the second floor of the mansion, areas that previously did not receive AC before. Both ductless and ducted units were used.

Bill Gough, vice president, M. Nelson Barnes & Sons, Inc., Cockeysville, Maryland, the installing contractor noted that the unobtrusive system was ideal for the historical project. “Sound and energy efficiency is always a consideration,” said Gough. “Low impact to the mansion was important.”

The vertical expansion is projected to be finished in Spring 2018. While the Club is for members only, the Endowment Fund provides public access for lectures, concerts and other community events.