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:

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