Hospitals everywhere focus on the comfort, care and wellbeing of their employees and patients. Often overlooked is how hospitals use air quality and ventilation to help meet this goal. Throughout the Mid-Atlantic, the Advanced Products Group (APG), a division of Aireco Supply, Inc., has helped medical facilities select the right products to provide clean, efficient air quality.
At Virginia’s Fairfax Family Dental Care, Owner and General Contractor, Dr. Charles Kirksey, sought the energy efficiency of a Mitsubishi Electric Cooling & Heating (Mitsubishi Electric) system to achieve his goal of having a state-of-the-art facility. Kirksey’s space was expansive, consisting of two stories with upward of 30 office spaces – a majority of which did not see consistent use. The ability to target airflow by controlling individual zones was key to meeting the energy savings Kirksey envisioned.
To do this, Brian Maddrey, Sales Engineer at APG, advised Kirksey to select a Mitsubishi Electric R2-Series heat pump with heat recovery. Maddrey said, “Since some offices aren’t always in use, it made no sense to have a traditional unit installed. Instead, this system uses only enough energy to satisfy the space load at any given time.” This Variable Refrigerant Flow (VRF) system allows for simultaneous cooling and heating and has a hydronic heat exchanger that repurposes summer heat, which would otherwise be dispelled, into free hot water for the building. Kirksey said of the experience, “Brian allowed us to confirm which system was best for us. We feel blessed to have found a vendor that was ready, willing and able to let us endlessly pick their brains about VRF.”
Matthew Lewis, P.E., Moore’s Electrical & Mechanical, Construction Inc., Charlottesville, Virginia, was brought onto the project team upgrading the Salem VA Medical Center in Salem, Virginia. The hospital was located in an old building that lacked interior space or room to work given the mess of piping located in the ceiling. Lewis saw Mitsubishi Electric VRF as the obvious answer – “It is my ‘go-to’ for VRF” – namely because of its two-pipe model that made maneuvering around the concrete-filled ceiling space much more manageable. The impressive energy efficiency of a high-capacity inverter compressor was also appealing.
Bill Warner, Sales Engineer at APG, explained to Lewis that a pair of branch controllers would allow the hospital to handle 16 different rooms at any given time. This worked well because “ultimately, we want to condition the air already in the space,” said Lewis. Further, Mitsubishi Electric’s R2-Series VRF would increase energy efficiency and overall cost savings. “It also means that the units can provide simultaneous cooling and heating in multiple zones. High capacity means more comfortable conditions for more occupants; it sets a good precedent for happy employees at the hospital,” said Lewis.
Matthew Lewis was also the HVAC contractor for the renovation of the Carilion Roanoke Community Hospital, where he again turned to APG for a VRF system – this time to replace a large air handling unit connected to the central plant. Previously, this unit was handling 20 different spaces with no individualized control. With VRF, the occupants of each of those 20 spaces could personalize the control of airflow in their individual zone. “Increased control has inherent energy savings, but more than that, everyone has a different body type and a different definition of comfort, now everyone gets their own control,” said Lewis.
Here at APG, we know how important it is to provide medical facility occupants with a comfortable, healthy environment. These projects are just three of the more than a dozen healthcare facility projects we completed last year, but represent just how important a good HVAC system can be – and just how well a job can go.