News & Events

2017 In Review: Great Products, Projects, Training and Resources

At Advanced Products Group (APG), a division of Aireco Supply, Inc., we want to highlight this year’s work and achievements as we wrap up 2017. Read on for an overview of APG’s happenings this year.

PRODUCTS

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The updated CITY MULTI® ceiling-cassette indoor unit, featuring the new 3D i-see Sensor™ (PLFY) from Mitsubishi Electric Cooling & Heating (Mitsubishi Electric) provides comfort with a stylish, discrete look. While mounted to the exterior panel of the ceiling cassette, the sensor continuously analyzes the thermal profile of a room, identifying cool and warm spots – seamlessly adjusting the temperature level as needed. For maximum personalized comfort, the sensor may be customized to direct airflow toward or away from occupants. Additionally, the innovative corner-pocket design allows for ease of maintenance, installation and height adjustment.

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Among companies that offer Variable Refrigerant Flow (VRF) technology, three-pipe design is most common. Mitsubishi Electric offers two-pipe VRF zoning technology. Proven in the field, two-pipe technology is not only more economical to install but reliable, energy-efficient and able to provide superior levels of comfort for occupants with simultaneous cooling and heating. Two-pipe VRF has significantly fewer electrical termination points than three-pipe systems, reducing the complexity of the wiring process and any potential connectivity issues. This kind of architecture also allows the indoor units to change temperature quickly from cooling to heating, or heating to cooling. Since a three-pipe system’s refrigerant has to be moved farther to undergo the same redistribution process, two-pipe VRF saves energy and money. The two-pipe design also makes servicing simpler, increasing lifetime savings cost.

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Mitsubishi Electric’s LEV Kit is an interface that allows existing Mitsubishi Electric or third-party air handlers to connect with a new CITY MULTI VRF system. This system enables the connection of VRF to the expansion coil in the air handler unit. It is designed to efficiently heat large loads without the use of electric elements within an air handler but can still receive the added bonus of cooling from the outdoor unit. With the addition of the LEV Kit, the system can provide unbeatable energy efficiency in heating mode and can pre-cool fresh air in cooling mode, reducing the load on the equipment installed.

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Diamond Controls™ solutions (Diamond Controls) from Mitsubishi Electric pair building automation controls with professional service to provide energy efficiency, savings and better systems maintenance. Building owners utilize the DC-600E™ Controller, featuring top-of-the-line software that offers an unprecedented level of control over a whole building with Mitsubishi Electric’s Controls Solutions Group. The Controls Solutions Group covers every relevant service, from the initial system design to post-installation follow-up support. The combination of advanced controls and robust service ensures that building owners and facility managers make the most of their budgets and time.

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Integrated Centralized Control Web (ICCW) from Mitsubishi Electric is a web-based control system offering insight, access and control of modern facility operations and HVAC systems from anywhere, at any time. With ICCW, building owners and managers can monitor and operate up to 2,000 units connected to 40 centralized controllers, set operational schedules for the system, measure and manage processes for peak energy savings and access the controls from a variety of smart devices regardless of the location. The interface provides building owners with a means of efficient operation, cost savings and occupant comfort.

TRAINING

APG is proud to offer monthly HVAC training classes taught by Aireco service personnel. We host our hands-on, manufacturer-certified courses at our facilities located in Laurel, Maryland; Richmond, Virginia; Arlington, Virginia and Newport News, Virginia. This year, we had 450 participants attend our classes, which include:

  • 3-Day CITY MULTI Service: This class provides participants with an in-depth understanding of the technologies used in the CITY MULTI system through detailed discussion over the theories associated with properly applying, installing, commissioning and troubleshooting CITY MULTI technology.
  • 2-Day M- & P-Series Service: Participants will be introduced to the concepts and theories of M & P-series system operation, including an in-depth functional study of the unique technologies employed.
  • 1-Day M- & P-Series Overview: This 4-hour class overviews the fundamentals of Mitsubishi Electric’s M- & P-Series systems. The concepts and theories of operation are introduced, including an overview of system design, installation and troubleshooting.

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PROJECTS

During 2017, APG provided HVAC solutions and installation training to a number of local businesses, schools and community spaces. Here’s a look at three standout projects that showcase the flexibility and practicality of Mitsubishi Electric VRF:

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Dawson Bailey House, a two-century-old home in Arlington, Virginia, selected VRF technology to transform into a fully functioning community center, while preserving its historical aesthetic. This project won the Design Excellence Award at Mitsubishi Electric Cooling & Heating’s 2017 Diamond Leadership Conference.

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The Inn at Evergreen in Haymarket, Virginia chose VRF when they needed an HVAC system to keep guests comfortable during warm, summer weddings. With the use of two-pipe VRF technology, the inn gained both a quiet HVAC system and more usable space, enhancing guest experience.

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West Springfield High School in Springfield, Virginia sought out VRF during a major renovation to keep students, faculty and staff comfortable. With more than 4,000 students, the county knew VRF technology was the best decision because of its efficiency, savings and small footprint.

RESOURCES

In March, we highlighted two Mitsubishi Electric websites – MitsubishiPro and MyLinkDrive – that we recommend for product information, usage and specs, in addition to our own website. Here’s a breakdown of the two:

MitsubishiPro is Mitsubishi Electric’s new and improved, professional-facing website. It is user-friendly, interactive and most importantly ‒ filled with useful information. The site offers intuitive search functions, such as Project Help. The Project Help search function allows users to fill out a form and receive immediate help or advice on an active or future project. If users are looking for more product-specific information, they can head to the Technology page where they can interact with animated graphics, or the Our Product Lines page to access brochures and manuals. The website also features marketing materials such as case studies and newsletters, offering insight into installing VRF in various applications.

MyLinkDrive is Mitsubishi Electric’s technical information website. This website houses technical documents such as application notes, warranty information, technology tips and product information. If users want specific product and/or software information, each product has attached data sheets, submittals, engineering manuals, installation manuals and compatibility matrices.

Project Profile: Church Street Station Studios

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This holiday season, 80 people who have experienced homelessness or who qualify for low-income housing will be able to call the Church Street Station Studios in Norfolk, Virginia  “home.” Last year, Virginia Supportive Housing broke ground on the 53,000-square-foot, 80-unit building with the vision of providing safe, low-cost housing that met EarthCraft certification building standards. Residents will pay rent based on their income level and utilities will be covered by the building owner. After much consideration, the HVAC contractor, Green Air Inc., Ashland, Virginia, worked with APG to select Mitsubishi Electric Cooling & Heating’s (Mitsubishi Electric) Variable Refrigerant Flow (VRF) technology for this project.

Having worked in the green HVAC field for over 10 years, Matt Roady, president of construction, Green Air, knew Mitsubishi Electric VRF would be perfect for this project. “You don’t have to worry about duct work for each individual unit, which helps in this type of construction; one unit can cool and one can heat at the same time with the VRF system. Which is above and beyond a standard mini split system,” he noted. This is particularly helpful in this situation so each resident has comfort control over their own studio, but building management can keep temperature within energy-efficient ranges.

For the VRF system, the Green Air team installed seven outdoor units, eight branch connector boxes and 102 evaporators that are a mix of ducted and four-way cassettes in the common areas and offices as well as wall-mounted indoor units for each studio to condition the entire building. “[There’s] a benefit on both ends,” noted Roady, when discussing the advantages of VRF for the building owner and contractor. “Cost savings and it’s an easier install.” Roady explained that with a traditional HVAC system, ductwork can be intrusive to the space. When running linesets for Mitsubishi Electric’s VRF, you do not need to run each individual lineset all the way to the roof. “When you go VRF, you just have to make your way back to the branch box and then run one main line to the roof from there – it’s a more efficient system.”

He also explained that VRF technology is the way of the future, especially for multi-family projects. “If the owner is paying for the bills, you’ll see them trying to go this direction, with the most energy-efficient system they can, that has less maintenance.”

Between energy efficiency, low maintenance, an easy install and support from APG, Mitsubishi Electric’s VRF system fit the bill for this project. By the end of the year, residents of Church Street Station Studios will be settling in to their new, comfortable homes.

Two-Pipe VRF: Energy Efficiency in Changing Seasons

Winter is definitely on its way and with cooler temperatures comes more time spent inside. The change in season is a reminder that facility managers are often looking to meet the comfort needs of their occupants, without breaking the bank on heating and cooling expenses.

Here’s a look at why we at the Advanced Products Group (APG), a division of Aireco Supply, Inc., suggest switching your HVAC system to a two-pipe variable refrigerant flow (VRF) system like CITY MULTI® VRF from Mitsubishi Electric Cooling & Heating (Mitsubishi Electric).
Why VRF?
VRF technology recognizes that buildings have multiple comfort zones with varied temperature needs. With VRF, you can cool and heat different rooms simultaneously. This means an office that holds several computers can receive proper cooling, while a lobby in the same facility receives heating. This flexibility is paramount both to comfort and energy efficiency.

Why Two-Pipe?
Most VRF companies offer a three-pipe system, which can be costlier and require additional maintenance. The R2-Series from Mitsubishi Electric offers two-pipe technology, an all-around better choice for installation, energy savings and durability.

For example, with a CITY MULTI R2-Series VRF with a four-indoor unit system, there are 20 refrigerant joints, compared to a three-pipe system with 50 connections. Having fewer pipe connection sites makes for an easier install, and less potential leakage.

In addition, R2 systems do not require regular oil recovery cycles. With less refrigerant volumes and velocities during mode change over, oil recovery is minimized. This improves overall energy efficiency and accuracy.

As far as maintenance, two-pipe is definitely the stand out. Two-pipe VRF has significantly fewer electrical termination points than three-pipe systems. Having fewer electrical connection sites reduces the complexity of the wiring process — preventing any potential connectivity issues. Ultimately, fewer components in the system means less chance of the system failing in the future.
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VRF for Energy Efficiency
Having a green HVAC system is not only better for the environment; it’s better for the budget. The initial costs of a VRF installation can be more expensive than traditional HVAC systems, but the monthly energy savings cannot be beat. VRF focuses on redirecting energy in the branch connector box. This allows heat to be diverted from one warm room to another room that requires it, reducing operational costs. In addition, each unit can be set to a specific temperature range. This can be particularly helpful during the winter months as it allows building owners to manage comfort while having control over the energy being used (i.e. their utility expenses).

If you’re interested in learning more about two-pipe VRF technology, be sure to view our post, “The Two-Pipe Takeover.”

Project Profile: West Springfield High School

Over the course of a school day, as occupancy levels fluctuate within a space, the variable demand for cooling and heating can make it difficult to keep a space comfortable for students, faculty and staff. Therefore, an HVAC system that can meet shifting comfort needs is particularly beneficial for a school. This is certainly true for West Springfield High School, in Springfield, Virginia. West Springfield High serves over 4,000 students, and as part of a major renovation, the school sought a more effective way to keep everyone comfortable. The solution was CITY MULTI® Variable Refrigerant Flow (VRF) from Mitsubishi Electric Cooling & Heating (Mitsubishi Electric)

Mike Stepp, president, AMS Contractors, Inc., Lorton, Virginia, worked with APG to incorporate the owner’s design and selected Mitsubishi Electric VRF for the school. Stepp believed Mitsubishi Electric VRF was the best option because it could keep everyone comfortable and fulfill new requirements from the school’s design team.
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He said, “In Fairfax County, they’re leaning toward using VRF systems for schools because it’s incredibly efficient, costs less to operate and saves a great deal of floor space. It virtually eliminates mechanical rooms. A typical high school would have a boiler room which is a large room filled with boilers, water heaters, chillers, pumps and all kinds of piping, and with VRF, they’re able to convert that floor space into usable classrooms or a teacher’s lounge.”

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Stepp submitted Mitsubishi Electric VRF to the school because of his team’s experience with the system, his confidence in its quality and its ease of installation. He continued, “When it came to selecting a brand, the school would have accepted another as long as the system met the specifications, but every system is different and you have to be aware of those differences rather than just looking at the prices. We chose Mitsubishi Electric because it offered the best design and our people have extensive training from Aireco on the products. We’re very comfortable with it.”
According to Stepp, the HVAC installation was also one of the easier parts to the school’s renovation because of the system’s versatility. He said, “VRF offers an easy installation during renovation because you can install the new system without removing the old one and that’s important during the construction phase because the school wants to keep the air conditioning as long as possible.”

When the renovation is completed within the next year, students, faculty and staff will enjoy year-round comfort at West Springfield High School thanks to their brand-new Mitsubishi Electric VRF.

How VRF Solves IAQ Challenges in Educational Facilities

Indoor air quality (IAQ) is especially important in educational facilities. Viruses, bacteria, allergens, dust, gases and other contaminants circulate inside, causing breathing hazards and bad odors. As a result, schools face a host of mandates and codes relating to IAQ. If you’re looking for a product that can meet those requirements, here’s a few reasons why we here at the Advanced Products Group (APG), a division of Aireco Supply, Inc., have chosen to use Variable Refrigerant Flow (VRF):

  • Advanced Filters. VRF’s indoor units have filters that capture and remove contaminants that can trigger allergy and asthma symptoms, spread illness and impact IAQ. Some manufacturers offer platinum deodorizing filters, which use nanotechnology to absorb odors to neutralize the worst smells. VRF’s filters are easily accessible and washable, and usable for up to 10 years.
  • Zoning Capabilities. Isolating air handling within a classroom helps contain a sick student’s germs — a boon to IAQ. Otherwise, one child’s sneeze can get passed along to many people.

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  • Constant Comfort. With traditional, non-inverter technology, HVAC systems tend to cycle a lot — turning on and off repeatedly. The frequent cycling causes major temperature swings and, potentially, health concerns. VRF has the ability to meet and maintain the load of a space.
  • Easy Integration. Schools typically have a high outside air requirement. Fortunately, there are numerous ways to address these needs while still maintaining, and even adding to a VRF system’s energy efficiency. The approach considered will vary based on the project’s climate, but common solutions include bringing outside air into the VRF indoor units via inline fans, adding an Energy Recovery Ventilator or a Dedicated Outside Air System.

As VRF has continued to innovate and improve, it has evolved from being a good solution for educational facilities to the solution.