The project and development team associated with the new Ame at Meridian Hill Apartments (Ame), has breathed new life into the historic building. Dating back to 1942, the building originally provided housing for female workers during World War II. And for nearly 50 years, the building served as a dormitory for Howard University Students. Now, ownership Jair Lynch Real Estate Partners and management, Bozzuto, have refreshed the facility, transforming it into a luxury multifamily space featuring 200 tenant units.
In modernizing the building, the ownership wanted to ensure all mechanical systems were efficient and tenants could be billed for their energy use separately. After consulting with with APG and mechanical contractor Charles A. Klein & Sons, Inc., they had an HVAC solution: CITY MULTI® Variable Refrigerant Flow (VRF) technology from Mitsubishi Electric with Diamond Controls™ solutions.
We spoke with Tierre James and Dan Wineke of the Mitsubishi Electric Controls Solutions Team to learn more about the project’s custom controls offering.
What was Ame’s ownership seeking in terms of a controls solution and what was specified?
DW: The building owner wanted to be able to use energy allocation to bill tenants for their individual electrical use. This is a huge benefit for management companies. In addition, they wanted remote access to the system.
TJ: From what we understand, this capability was the driver of the sale. Having the ability to manage each apartment and see it remotely was a selling point for our Diamond Controls. For reference, in this building we have 16 AE-200A Centralized Controllers and four additional ones strictly used for tenant billing. Residents use our Wired MAs to control their spaces.
How has this solution benefited the facilities staff?
DW: Prior to this building update with Diamond Controls, the facilities team had to physically walk into the electrical closet on the upper floor of the building if there was a complaint and figure out any issues from there. Now at this time, we have a full-blown building automation system (BAS) doing energy allocation. From just a computer, they can access any unit, any room in the building and we’re trending this information through the BAS system. This is actually also helpful for the leasing office. Staff can easily login to the space and see what’s going on for quick fixes.
What are some custom functions you programmed into the controls on this building?
DW: There’s two specialty functions we did on this job. We have programming on the Centralized Controller that sets a minimum and maximum set point. If the temperature breaks that threshold then the units turn themselves on or off to counteract too low or too high of a temperature. This helps protect the building from freezing or overheating. Secondly, we have a function on the thermostats for setback. This keeps the units running but widens the high and low temperature set points in a space. This function is helpful for scheduling during the day and night and is a safety net for the building owner and facility manager to ensure residents stay comfortable.
TJ: With Diamond Controls, we can also set up alarms for the facilities team to notify them of any units or zones that are having issues.
How is your experience working with APG?
DW: Aireco APG is a great distributor for us. We have quite a few projects ongoing with them. They have a great team and knowledgeable staff. Plus, they are actively trying to promote Diamond Controls on each job.
TJ: That’s of huge benefit to us because we know we have a customized solution that helps anticipate our customers’ needs. In the last year, we’ve received a ton of requests for energy allocation. It started to become very big in the New York City area and now appears to be spreading throughout the country at a rapid pace.
To learn more about Mitsubishi Electric’s solutions offerings, contact APG at APG@aireco.com.