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Split-Ductless Cooling, Heating Helps Architect Firm Put Best Foot Forward

Oct. 1, 2007
When we started designing our own headquarters several years ago, we knew that it was imperative for this building to exemplify sustainable, green-friendly

“When we started designing our own headquarters several years ago, we knew that it was imperative for this building to exemplify sustainable, green-friendly design and to be a showcase for LEED (the U.S. Green Building Council's Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Green Building Rating System),” Mark Lishen, AIA, LEED AP, a partner with Guild Hardy Architects PA (GHA), said of the firm's new facility in Biloxi Commerce Park in Biloxi, Miss. “We are an active member of the United States Green Building Council, and we have an obligation to put our best foot forward to demonstrate we care about the environment in which we live and build.“

David Hardy, AIA, vice president of GHA, knew Alex Weddington, vice president of General Supply & Machine Co. Inc. of Meridian, Miss., through a project for the Jackson County (Miss.) School District. He invited Weddington to participate in the GHA project.

“GHA's staff was immediately drawn to the Mr. Slim split-ductless cooling and heating systems” from Mitsubishi Electric HVAC, Weddington said. “These systems include the inviting design of the indoor units, which fit elegantly and quietly into the spacious, soaring indoor working spaces of the new headquarters building.”

With the new offices designed with a lot of exposed ductwork, Weddington recommended that GHA also invest in City Multi Variable Refrigerant Flow Zoning (VRFZ) systems.

“City Multi takes advantage of inverter technology by varying the speed of the compressor in the outdoor unit to meet the changing load requirements in each of the indoor zones, thus minimizing energy needs,” Weddington said.

Lishen said City Multi played a vital role in helping GHA meet the requirements of LEED Green Building Rating System for New Construction and Major Renovations Version 2.1:

  • In the Energy & Atmosphere (EA) category, City Multi helped meet all three prerequisites: Fundamental Building Systems Commissioning, as it is easy to test, set, and adjust; Minimum Energy Performance, as it utilizes variable-frequency drives (VFDs) in its compressor and outdoor fans and is able to simultaneously cool and heat; and CFC Reduction in HVAC&R Equipment, as it uses R-22 refrigerant, a hydrochlorofluorocarbon.

  • In the EA category, the use of inverter technology and VFDs, variable refrigerant flow through the indoor units, and simultaneous cooling and heating helped GHA earn Credit 1, Optimize Energy Performance.

  • In the Indoor Environmental Quality category, City Multi helped GHA meet Prerequisite 1, Minimum IAQ Performance, with its ventilation effectiveness and earn Credit 5, Indoor Chemical and Pollutant Source Control, with its zoned indoor units.

Darrell Suber, president of Southland Heating and Air Conditioning Inc. of Long Beach, Miss., installed the units.

“GHA specs many LEED-type projects, and this headquarters will sell a lot of exceptional HVAC designs …,” Suber said. “City Multi is … easy to install, simple to operate, (and) everything (is) digital.”

Suber was impressed with the variety of technologies Weddington specified for GHA's headquarters: “Simultaneous cooling and heating for the different office zones, ceiling-concealed ducted units, four-way ceiling-recessed cassettes, Mr. Slim wall-mounted units — this equipment and these systems all add up to superior interior design and effective energy usage.”

To prepare for the installation, Suber enrolled in a City Multi training class at Mitsubishi's Atlanta training center.

Hardy said Mitsubishi was “very helpful” in assisting GHA during startup and programming the energy-management software built into the G-50A centralized controller.

“We easily are able to manage the programming of all units from a PC in my office,” Hardy said. “The result has been effective use of energy, resulting in reduced energy bills.”

Other benefits of the City Multi and Mr. Slim systems, Hardy said, have included quiet operation, the high level of indoor-air quality and room comfort resulting from the moisture-removing dry mode, and the reverse heat-pump cycle, which warms the rooms on the few cold days of the year.

For Design Solutions author guidelines, call Scott Arnold, executive editor, at 216-931-9980, or write to him at [email protected].