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VRF for Bon Secours’ Marian Hall

Officially established in the U.S. in 1881, Bon Secours Retreat and Conference Center, of Marriottsville, Maryland, is a ministry of the Sisters of Bon Secours (Bon Secours). Since 1824, when Bon Secours was founded in Paris, the Sisters have helped those in need and offered compassionate care to their community.

Guests of the sprawling center which sits on 313 acres of land, visit for spiritual direction, retreats with their church or organization, writing or personal reflection. The main building has a variety of conference spaces and meeting rooms as well as 70 individual overnight rooms. In 2015, APG retrofitted the conference center with CITY MULTI® VRF technology from Mitsubishi Electric Cooling & Heating. Bon Secours was so impressed that for its next endeavor, Marian Hall (a retirement and assisted living center for the Sisters), CITY MULTI was their first choice, with Fidelity Mechanical Services serving as the installing contractor.

What is the purpose of the Marian Hall building and what requirements did Bon Secours have?

The Marian Hall project is a retrofit of an existing space. The idea is that the Sisters want to take care of each other into their older years. The building has a healthcare area, common areas, standard living space, an industrial kitchen and amenities like a hair salon. It’s a self-contained community with both independent and assisted living portions.

As for their requirements, they wanted supreme comfort for the residents, individual zone control and the ability for Marian Hall’s HVAC system to tie in to the front end controls part of the conference center. Comfort and easy operations were critical to this project.

Why was Mitsubishi Electric VRF favored for this job?

There are several reasons why Mitsubishi Electric stood out. When Bon Secours was doing the initial renovation back in 2015, they actually looked at other third-party brands such as Daikin. Ultimately, the two-pipe design and comprehensive support made them choose Mitsubishi Electric. They had been very happy with the Diamond Controls Solutions platform, VRF performance and support they received from us at APG and Mitsubishi Electric. Doug Pine and Dan Wineke of Mitsubishi Electric were both central to that job. Honestly, we’ve been told the building engineer didn’t even consider any other brands for Marian Hall.

In addition, rebates were also a big component for their system selection. The Sisters wanted economical operating costs and to maximize their rebate with the local utility provider, Baltimore Gas and Electric Company (BG&E). In this scenario, the total rebate is based on the pressure taken off of the electric grid. The more energy-efficient systems installed, the more the dollar amount goes up. I’ve been told Bon Secours received a six-figure rebate for this project.

For such a diverse space, what ventilation equipment was selected?

Marian Hall has a PremiSys DOAS unit to bring in lots of fresh, outside air. There’s a minimum standard ventilation code required by the state. That said, Bon Secours really loved that the DOAS communicates directly with the VRF equipment and integrates within the Diamond Controls platform. With so many different areas in Marian Hall (there’s 28 cooling and heating zones), the precise control of each system was a big selling point.

METUS Equipment Installed for Marian Hall:

  • (2) H2i® R2-Series Heat Recovery Outdoor Units
  • (7) PLFY Four-Way Ceiling Cassettes
  • (1) PMFY One-Way Ceiling Cassette
  • (19) PFFY Floor-Mounted Indoor Units
  • (24) Simple MA Remote Controllers
  • (1) AE-200A Centralized Controller

(1) PremiSys DOAS Rooftop Unit

New Light Commercial Products from Mitsubishi Electric

Get ready for some exciting, new light commercial products from Mitsubishi Electric Cooling & Heating! At Aireco Advanced Products Group (APG) we are proud to offer our customers the best in energy-efficient HVAC innovations for all types of applications.

SLZ-KF Four-Way Ceiling Cassette

The newest member of the M-Series, the SLZ-KF brings comfort to any light commercial application. With four-way vane control, occupants can select two-, three- or four-way airflow patterns. Each vane can also be adjusted individually. The optional 3D i-see Sensor®, which calculates the room occupancy rate, adjusts conditioning accordingly with direct or indirect airflow settings, offering 72 different combinations for comfort. The result is improved energy savings with a SEER rating over 19.8 and even temperature distribution. With the introduction of a 3D-turbo fan, the SLZ-KF’s sound level is supremely quiet, as low as 25 dB(A). In addition, the unit includes easy-to-clean, washable, 10-year filters with multi-stage allergen filtration.

Mechanical contractors will also be pleased to learn of the unit’s streamlined redesign compared to previous models. The temporary hanging hooks, captive screws and larger wrench-turning radius on piping make installing the unit overhead much easier.

MSZ/MUZ-JP Model 115 Volt Heat Pumps

Part of the M-Series product lineup, each 115 Volt Heat Pump system utilizes one breaker spot in an electrical panel versus the typical two breaker spots. A single-zone system, the MSZ-JP model indoor unit and corresponding MUZ-JP model outdoor unit are ideal for light commercial applications, such as hotels and restaurants. Available in 9 and 12 kBtu/h capacities, the system has a seasonal energy efficiency ratio (SEER) of 17.0, a heating season performance factor (HSPF) of 9.3-11.00 and an energy efficiency ratio (EER) of 9.9-12.0.

Additional Features

  • Quiet operation: as low as 22 dB(A) for the indoor unit
  • Low ambient heating down to – 4 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Wireless enabled (optional feature) with the ability to pair with kumo cloud® software and other thermostats when using the Thermostat Interface
  • Washable air filters and anti-allergy enzyme filter mechanisms
  • ECONO COOL mode delivers air at higher set point but in a swing motion, which is an energy-efficient way to make occupants feel cooler
  • 12-hour timer which allows for one ON/OFF cycle during a 12-hour period

CITY MULTI® for Grow Facilities

The legal marijuana market is expected to be worth $146.4 billion USD by 2025 and grow facilities are in high demand. With a multitude of medical uses and applications, companies like MariMed Advisors, a marijuana business consultant, are on the rise, helping growers legally design, develop and operate medical cannabis cultivation centers and dispensaries.

One of their latest developments is Kind Therapeutics USA, a grow facility located in Hagerstown, Maryland. While the building has diverse humidity and zoning requirements, mechanical contractor CARE Services Inc., based out of Williamsport, Maryland, knew CITY MULTI Variable Refrigerant Flow (VRF) from Mitsubishi Electric was a complementary system for the project. Below, the mechanical contractor explains why they specified CITY MULTI and the support they received from APG.

Why was Mitsubishi Electric VRF specified? 

From a system standpoint, we needed versatility. It’s a 130,000-square-foot, three-story building with two floors used for growing. We could not use ductwork and CITY MULTI VRF was an ideal system. We used a mix of the ceiling-concealed units and the wall-mounted indoor units.

The original plans actually called for a third-party VRF system. That brand had an equipment ship time of six to eight weeks and at the last minute, the first mechanical contractor could no longer work on the job. When MariMed Advisors called us for support, I immediately contacted Michael Stewart and Brian Maddrey from APG. We planned out the equipment and they put together a submittal package for me. Based on the success of other CITY MULTI projects we had done together, I suggested Mitsubishi Electric VRF to Kind Therapeutics. With equipment stocked at the Atlanta headquarters, we were able to get the product in a matter of days.

How was Mitsubishi Electric VRF favorable for this type of application? 

Certain strands of marijuana require specific amounts of humidity; certain strands require different temperatures. With VRF’s individual temperature settings, every area can have its own designated climate and comfort level. The zoning capabilities have been very beneficial in this application. In fact, we even installed Mitsubishi Electric units in areas that were not initially designed to be a part of the grow facility – like storage rooms. They’ve turned these different areas into part of the growing application and Kind Therapeutics has had even greater yields.

Ultimately, what equipment was installed?

We installed 88 indoor units and six condensing units in 2017. The building was fully operational in 2018 but they started growing the plants in 2017. As for controls, Kind Therapeutics has the AE-200A Centralized Controller and the Simple MAs for various rooms. A third-party ERV provides fresh air to the non-grow areas of the facility. Everything has been working great and the staff are happy with the individual controls and temperature settings.

How does APG provide technical support?

I may sound biased, but CARE Services is a Diamond Contractor® and we have been working with Mitsubishi Electric HVAC equipment since 2006. That said, the biggest benefit for me working on a CITY MULTI application happens to be their distributor, APG. The support I get from Tim Kemp, Matt Kemp, Brian and Mike is unparalleled. If I have a question, a problem, a concern, I get an answer. For instance, during the construction phase, I called up Brian to do a walk through, just to make sure we had another set of eyes on the project and he was there.

Every project I’ve ever done with APG, they’ve always had my back, no matter what.

METUS Equipment Installed:

  • (6) R2-Series Heat Recovery Outdoor Units
  • (42) PKFY Wall-Mounted Indoors Units
  • (46) PLFY Four-Way Ceiling Cassettes
  • (69) Simple MA Remote Controllers
  • (1) AE-200A Centralized Controller

Benefits of VRF for Healthcare Facilities

HVAC contractors are seeing a greater demand for Variable Refrigerant Flow (VRF) technology specified in healthcare facilities. VRF’s unique zoning and superior filtration make these systems ideal for medical centers like managed-care facilities. Below we highlight some of the main benefits these INVERTER-driven HVAC systems can offer:

Precise Comfort Control
VRF offers the ability to heat and cool simultaneously. With a variety of zones – patient rooms, medical centers and lobbies – this function is critical and provides year-round comfort with a single system.

Quiet Operation
Healthcare settings require a quiet atmosphere – your HVAC system kicking on shouldn’t cause disruption between a medical team and patient. Mitsubishi Electric’s latest commercial outdoor units, CITY MULTI® N-Generation, are near silent and equipped with four low-noise patterns for its redesigned fan, in addition to the rated pattern.

Indoor Air Quality
With VRF, each zone has its own filter compared to conventional systems that have one, centralized filter. This can help prevent stale air and keep odors at bay. With Mitsubishi Electric, filters last 10 years and are washable, with multi-state allergen filtration to remove particulates and contaminants from the air with continuous fan operation.

Lower Life-Cycle Costs
The total installed cost of a VRF zoning system is less than or equal to the total installed cost of most conventional systems. For example, the project featured below costs $1.04 per square foot per year compared to the average healthcare building at $2.71 per square foot, per year.* In operation, the systems only utilize the exact amount of energy needed to maintain a comfortable indoor environment.

At Aireco Advanced Products Group (APG), we pride ourselves in understanding how to accurately specify and design VRF for a variety of applications. To partner with the APG team on any of your upcoming projects, contact us at APG@aireco.com.

*As per a report by the U.S. Energy Information Administration

VRF for Managed Care: Coastal Hospice

Established in 1980, Coastal Hospice has brought caring and professional palliative care to the state of Maryland for many years. With their new facility, Coastal Hospice at the Ocean, redesigned by the architects at Becker Morgan Group, Inc., the building provides breathtaking views of the Ocean City skyline for patients and their family members. In choosing an HVAC system for this retrofit project, management wanted a system that could provide energy efficiency and make minimal noise. Allen & Shariff Engineering, LLC worked closely with APG on the project and ultimately specified a water-source Variable Refrigerant Flow system from Mitsubishi Electric Cooling & Heating. Joseph M. Zimmer, Inc., a very experienced CITY MULTI® contractor based out of Salisbury, Maryland, completed the install. Below, you’ll hear from the project’s engineer on the system and application.

Why was Mitsubishi Electric VRF specified? 

It has great zoning capability and can provide simultaneous heating and cooling. With VRF, we can put a cassette unit in every hospice room or every office, which we could not do effectively with traditional systems. Then there’s the ability to provide part-load capacity, the ability to passively dehumidify the space, the high-efficiency filtering options for indoor units and the overall energy efficiency of the system.

The energy efficiency was a huge factor. Hospice facilities often operate off of donations and small budgets, so we were looking at something that would have a small operating budget for them. So, zoning and efficiency were the two big drivers for selecting VRF.

A geothermal, water-cooled VRF system was installed. How did this translate to efficiency?

The facility was an existing community club house. The geothermal well system was existing and the owner wanted to reuse it (wells can be very expensive at first cost). Anything geothermal is usually high-efficiency. That’s when we tied it in with the VRF to make it a geothermal VRF system. The project become super high-efficiency once we did that as VRF systems only use the precise amount of energy required to comfortably heat and cool a zone.

Have you seen a trend in healthcare facilities switching to VRF?

Yes. At this point, my company has specified VRF for multiple medical centers including a cancer center and women’s health center. The cassettes that use the MERV-13 filters are huge for the medical industry. While VRF isn’t always suitable for a hospital setting, medical centers have been helped tremendously by the filtering and zoning capabilities that VRF systems offer – with either ducted or ductless units.

How does APG provide technical support?

Howard Bergman and Michael Stewart from APG provided me with design assistance including review of the equipment selections that I made using the Mitsubishi Electric Diamond System Builder selection software. They were also able to answer any questions that I had during design concerning application of the equipment and controls.
What makes you feel a loyalty to Mitsubishi Electric?

I’ve been specifying it since I started designing VRF systems, probably 10 years now. I’ve always specified Mitsubishi Electric and continue to do so. The support I’ve received from APG is also a big factor. Mitsubishi Electric has comprehensive training; I’ve been down to their factory in Georgia and have been able to take other classes as well. There is a comfort level and familiarity I have with their products. I know their systems. I know their selection software. And I haven’t had any issues with Mitsubishi Electric on any of my jobs. I know that when we specify Mitsubishi Electric, it’s going to be a good project.

METUS Equipment Installed:

  • (3) PQRY-PTSLMU-A WR2 Series Water-Source Units
  • (32) PLFY-EP30NEMU-E Four-way Ceiling Cassettes
  • (12) PEFY-PNMAU-E3 Ceiling-Concealed Ducted Indoor Units
  • (3) PKFY-P12NHMU-E2 Wall-Mounted Indoor Unit
  • (1) AE-200A Centralized Controller