Water-Source VRF and Lossnay Ventilation for Historic Commercial Buildings

The Gordon Feinblatt Lawfirm has been serving the Baltimore area since 1953. Located in the city’s historic Garrett Building, the firm is committed to the location but decided to start renovating a few years ago when their outdated boiler/chiller set up was no longer serving employees or its clients well. They opted to renovate the 13-story building one floor at a time. The solution? Water-Source Variable Refrigerant Flow (VRF) technology with Lossnay ventilation from Mitsubishi Electric Trane HVAC US (METUS).

Below you’ll hear from us (the distributor) and Henry Adams Consulting Engineers (the HVAC engineer) on why VRF was the right solution for the building.

Why was water-source VRF the best option for this project?

Updating the chiller/boiler system was not a good option. They were looking at both cost savings and efficiencies but weren’t able to provide the type of comfort their customers were asking for with their current system. Baltimore City has a chilled water plant. The cost to bring that water to the building would have been extravagant. So using METUS water-source VRF was a fix we could give them to stay within their budget and give them better performing cooling and heating.

Previously, the law firm had comfort issues. How did this update address that?

Before, they weren’t able to provide the type of comfort their customers were asking for. With the update, we have a unit in every individual office. Each lawyer has their own thermostat. Now that one unit can run heating while another runs cooling simultaneously, all their comfort issues went away.

Why was Lossnay specified for this job?

With modern code, you have to provide fresh makeup air. There wasn’t room in the existing building to do DOAS or bring in 100 percent outside air. But the building does have chases. With the Lossnay unit, we’re able to exchange the energy – while the unit is exhausting air, at the same time it’s bringing in air and recovering some of the energy on the way. With this system, we’re able to introduce the new fresh air into each office. Lossnay is also a great retrofit product when you’re limited on space and confinement. At Aireco, we always try to find the right application to alleviate space issues and meet modern code requirements.

 

How did water-source VRF accommodate multiple renovations over the years?

Water-source VRF allows the firm to keep their existing central cooling and heating unit online for the floors not being renovated, and we tied the new units into their central water loop. It just makes sense to utilize that central plant and capacity while it’s available instead of adding additional cooling or heating equipment.

Why was Mitsubishi Electric specified versus other brands?

When we did the original project in 2010, we designed around Mitsubishi Electric equipment because at that point we had the most experience with that manufacturer. We trust their equipment because we’ve had a long track record with it. We’ve never really had any major issues with their equipment – it’s reliable. And from my perspective, the heat-recovery, two-pipe system is a much more simplified design for a project like this.