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The Solution for Any Hotel: VRF

At Aireco Advanced Products Group (APG), we’re proud to offer Variable Refrigerant Flow (VRF) systems. We stand behind their performance and effectiveness as an energy-efficient HVAC solution for any application. In particular, VRF systems are ideal for hotels and lodging venues. Whether new construction, retrofit or a historical renovation project, VRF technology provides many benefits for the hospitality industry. We detail a few below:

Low-Impact
VRF systems like Mitsubishi Electric’s CITY MULTI® line only utilize two small pipes to condition a space or zone. Whether you choose ducted or ductless indoor units, you can select the equipment that minimizes disturbance to your space, saving equipment and labor costs. This feature is especially favorable for historic retrofit hotels where changes to the structure and facade must be limited.

Design Flexibility
Hotel developers generally seek to maximize usable space for guests but they also have to account for a multitude of mechanical systems. With VRF, both the indoor and outdoor units are more compact than traditional systems and they don’t require as much ductwork. This can be the difference in using a whole rooftop for ventilation and HVAC equipment or being able to offer rooftop amenities like a pool, bar or restaurant.

Personalized Comfort and Control
Everyone has a different definition of comfort. To keep guests happy, HVAC systems must accommodate a variety of different temperatures be it guest room to guest room or variances between the hotel restaurant and conference rooms. The good news is that VRF systems with heat recovery can shift heat from zones in cooling mode to zones requiring heat. Not only does this efficiency save utility costs, but it helps hotels offer personalized comfort to guests.

VRF manufacturers also offer comprehensive building controls to help facility managers seamlessly supervise HVAC across a whole hotel. These systems, like Mitsubishi Electric’s Diamond Controls™ Solutions, can be customized to integrate with hotel management software. This opens opportunities to increase service and efficiency by configuring the HVAC system to change the set point when a visitor checks in.

In general, hotel HVAC is changing and for the better! There’s widespread adoption of VRF technology in the hospitality industry because it’s proven to be an effective and flexible solution for developers and hotel owners. As engineer Timothy Chatterton noted in the project profile below on the Cambria Hotel, “People don’t want to do PTACs anymore. Other hotels are starting to adopt VRF and developers don’t want to get left behind on this trend.”

VRF: A Seamless Solution for Cambria Hotel

As the newest of Ocean City, Maryland’s waterfront attractions, the Cambria Hotel is slated to open in the coming months. Cambria Ocean City is a highly anticipated venue developed by PiNNacle Hospitality Group, which will bring upscale dining, outdoor recreation and 2,200-square-feet of multi-functional meeting space in addition to hospitality.

8.5 stories with 133 guest rooms, Fisher Architecture, Salisbury, Maryland, designed the property and brought in RMF Engineering, Salisbury, Maryland, to plan the mechanical system layout. With strict criteria for the atmosphere of the property, hotel ownership wanted the heating and cooling system to be unnoticeable for guests. Partnering with APG for equipment distribution and comprehensive support as well as Wilfre Co. Mechanical Contractors, Hebron, Maryland, for installation, RMF selected CITY MULTI VRF systems for the hotel. Below we speak with the project’s engineer on why VRF was selected and its benefits in a hospitality setting.

How did RMF get involved in this project and why was VRF selected for this hotel?

We were brought into this project by Fisher Architecture. We specified Mitsubishi Electric. We design all of our VRF projects around this brand unless the developer has a different preference.

That said, VRF was also selected because Cambria and Fisher Architecture want a higher-end look. They don’t want a PTAC, they don’t want the “bump out” that you’d normally have to design around for a traditional vertical fan coil unit, and they don’t want the constraints of a four-pipe system. In using VRF, there’s indoor unit options. For example, in all the guest rooms, there’s ceiling-concealed ducted units. All the guest sees are vents.

The hotel is oceanside. How do you prevent the wear and tear of the system?

With all the work we do in Ocean City, Rehoboth and generally on the shoreline, Mitsubishi Electric’s salt-protective coating is extremely helpful for this type of work. Another competitor tried to win this job but their salt coating did not compare.

Why is VRF an ideal choice for hospitality applications?

Heat recovery is one of the biggest benefits of VRF systems for hotels. One person in a room might want it at 75°  – 78° F and the next guest over might set their room to 66°  – 68° F. The building benefits from passing heat around and we try to keep that in mind when we’re designing to have different exposures on a single system. We have 18 R2-Series heat recovery systems on the Cambria project, so we do an east and west exposure on a single system so we’re passing the heat around efficiently.

In addition, you get space savings. All the HVAC equipment is located on the roof at Cambria but on the seventh floor, there is an outdoor bar. That was critical for the ownership — none of our equipment could be seen. We currently have 192 tons of equipment up there not counting the PremiSys® DOAS units. Trying to fit a more traditional system of the same capacity would have been problematic for this project.

METUS Equipment Installed:

  • (18) R2-Series Outdoor Units w/ Salt Protection
  • (28) PKFY Wall-Mounted Indoor Units
  • (138) PEFY Ceiling-Concealed Ducted Indoor Units
  • (37) PLFY-P Four-Way Ceiling Cassettes
  • (193) Simple MA Remote Controllers
  • (2) PremiSys® DOAS Units
  • (2) AE-200 Centralized Controllers
  • (1) Diamond ControlsTM Solutions
  • (1) MXZ M-Series Outdoor Heat Pump
  • (2) PUZ P-Series Heat Pump Outdoor Unit w/ Salt Protection
  • (2) MSZ M-Series Wall-Mounted Indoor Units
  • (1) PKA Wall-Mounted Indoor Unit

Now Available: The PEFY-OA Ducted Outside Air Unit

We are pleased to now carry one of the latest ventilation solutions from Mitsubishi Electric Trane HVAC US (METUS): the PEFY-OA Ducted Outside Air Unit!

Available in 36,000, 48,000, 72,000 and 96,000 BTUH capacities, the PEFY-OA is a high-performance indoor unit that improves comfort by pre-treating and filtering outside air before delivering it to each zone. With three modes of operation: cooling, heating or fan only, the unit heats or cools incoming outside air based upon the ambient temperature and set point, and also provides discharge air temperature control. Compatible with CITY MULTI® systems, the PEFY-OA helps building owners, engineers and architects increase indoor air quality while meeting ventilation requirements in a variety of commercial applications. The unit is ideal in buildings where plenum space is available such as office buildings, schools, hotels and assisted-living facilities.

Additional Features:

  • CITY MULTI R2- and Y-Series system compatibility
  • Zone control for outside air applications
  • Static pressure settings of 0.6 inches, 0.8 inches and 1.0 inch W.G.
  • Discharge air temperature control
  • Integrated condensate lift mechanism providing up to 27-9/16 inches of lift
  • Optional filter box with MERV 13 filters

At Aireco Advanced Products Group (APG) we are proud to offer you products that perform well and are cost effective. The biggest advantage of the PEFY-OA is that it can be used in conjunction with standard evaporators on an R2- or Y-Series system and connect to the same outdoor unit. This distinguishes the PEFY-OA from a 1:1 CFM-R unit, which would require a dedicated outdoor unit, a dedicated branch controller and a single air handler. This means savings for your clients!

 

For more information on this product, contact APG@aireco.com today!

VRF: The Complete Package for Choptank Health

Choptank Community Health System (Choptank Health) is a private, nonprofit health center serving the communities of Maryland’s Eastern Shore for the last 30 years. Offering adult and pediatric medical care, dental services, and behavioral health and wellness programs, Choptank Health is an accessible provider for many locals. Ultimately in 2018, leadership decided another location was required.

With plans for a 20,000-square-foot building, two aspects were crucial to the design: the patient-facing areas should be aesthetically pleasing and the mechanical systems should be energy-efficient and save monthly costs. Partnering with APG, RMF Engineering and the architects at George, Miles & Buhr LLC (GMB), Choptank Health selected a suite of products from Mitsubishi Electric including CITY MULTI Variable Refrigerant Flow systems, ventilation equipment and building automation controls. Below, we talk with the project’s engineer about the unique HVAC needs of healthcare facilities and why selecting Mitsubishi Electric was the right fit for the job.

Why did Choptank Health select Mitsubishi Electric VRF?

Choptank Health asked for our recommendation and we suggested Mitsubishi Electric. A big part of this job was the ventilation. By going with Mitsubishi Electric for all of the equipment, we could specify their PremiSys® Dedicated Outdoor Air System (DOAS) and control the entire HVAC system with their building management platform, Diamond Controls™.

Being a 12-hour operation, the facilities manager also wanted the ability to control the building from his desk, iPad or cell phone. A big selling point here was the Diamond Controls – even remotely, he has almost complete control over the entire building

Do you specify Mitsubishi Electric VRF on most of your projects?

We tend to specify Mitsubishi Electric unless an owner or client has another preference. I’ve personally been working with them since around 2009. As an engineer, it’s easier on our end to be masters of one system than multiple.

The performance is there too. This project was open for equals but it was decided that if another manufacturer competed, they would have to prove to Choptank that their product was as competitive as Mitsubishi Electric. Ultimately, the team trusted our opinion.

In healthcare, ventilation is crucial. Why is this HVAC system a good fit?

We specified two PremiSys DOAS units for this building. As this is a healthcare application, it’s really important to have the code-required air change ventilation rates. Since we are bringing in so much outside air, PremiSys allows us to be able to pre-treat it and dehumidify the air before moving into patient and staff spaces. This is especially important on the Eastern Shore. From there, VRF conditions it the rest of the way.

It was important to tie in all these units to Diamond Controls so that the facilities staff can easily monitor and adjust the environment. It really streamlines operation.

Were any other HVAC designs considered before choosing VRF? 

There was a pretty big discussion during design about whether we were going to use a traditional Variable Air Volume (VAV) system or go with VRF. Choptank Health and GMB didn’t want the look of ceiling cassettes in the exam rooms and had previously associated that with VRF. That said, we simply changed to a ducted unit style to achieve the look they wanted. We did concealed ducted units in the exam rooms and lobby area, wall-mounted units in the the mechanical and electrical spaces, and ceiling cassettes in staff areas. With VRF, they can obtain higher-efficiency and cost-effective energy bills, unlike a VAV system.

How has your experience been partnering with APG on this job?

Aireco has been great. Our contact for this job is Harold Bergman and whenever we have questions I can easily text him and get a response in minutes. Ever since 2009/2010, we’ve been working with APG when we design Mitsubishi Electric projects.

The latest Choptank Health location is slated to open in Fall 2019.

METUS Equipment Installed:

  • (3) R2-Series Outdoor Units
  • (1) PUZ Single-Zone Heat Pump Outdoor Unit
  • (1) PKA Wall-Mounted Cooling-Only Indoor Unit
  • (8) PEFY Ceiling-Concealed Ducted Indoor Units
  • (43) PLFY-P Four-Way Ceiling Cassettes
  • (51) Simple MA Remote Controllers
  • (2) PremiSys® MPE DOAS Units with Energy Recovery
  • (1) AE-200 Centralized Controller
  • (1) Diamond ControlsTM Solutions

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.