Total Installed Costs

Oct. 1, 2010
Providing a More Complete Picture for HVAC-System Comparisons

What Are Total Installed Costs?

Total installed costs are the sum of all of the costs required to get an HVAC system up and running:

  • Space usage (usable space consumed or saved by the system)
  • Equipment costs
  • Installation costs
  • Design costs

Why Are Total Installed Costs Important?

In the specification and design of commercial HVAC systems, equipment usually is considered the most important cost factor, with costs varying from technology to technology. Often, with even the seemingly lowest-cost options, there are hidden costs that add up quickly.

For example, while chillers, variable-air-volume (VAV) systems, and ground-source heat pumps may be considered relatively affordable based on equipment costs alone, their weight, number of required air handlers, piping and/or ductwork, secondary equipment, water- or ground-loop considerations, and power upsizing and rigging can significantly increase a customer's bottom-line costs. Mitsubishi Electric's two-pipe variable-refrigerant-flow (VRF) zoning systems are unlikely to require rigging, are easy to install, need fewer connections, and often result in lower electrical loads. The systems also eliminate the building teardown/buildup of traditional options, save customers money, and deliver higher efficiency and ease of maintenance.

Space-Usage Considerations

Mitsubishi Electric systems afford space designers a greater number of options:

  • A variety of air handlers, with multiple options for placement, including on or in a ceiling, on a floor, high on a wall, or even in a closet.

  • Compact units, which free up indoor and outdoor space.

  • Smaller refrigerant lines, which take up less space in mechanical chases and rooms and reduce clearances.

  • Ductless systems, which allow increased ceiling height or a greater number of floors in a particular building envelope.

With so many options, you can configure systems to fit your aesthetic, rather than design spaces around the HVAC. For details on product specifications, visit

Equipment Costs

Every HVAC system is unique in design. When comparing systems, make sure to account for equipment that is not needed, along with necessary equipment (Table 1).

Installation Costs and Considerations

Mitsubishi Electric VRF systems are engineered to be compact and to simplify the work needed to get them up and running.

All HVAC equipment has associated costs:

  • Required piping and insulation

    Mitsubishi Electric VRF products require only one type of copper pipe, reducing weight-based cost and standardizing insulation requirements. Diamondback? ball valves simplify the connection of pipes to equipment and eliminate brazing costs. Two-pipe design outclasses unnecessarily complicated multipipe and three-pipe systems.

  • Required wiring and electrical work

    Mitsubishi Electric communication, power, and controls wiring is based on standardized wire types. Unlike chillers, scroll compressors, VAV systems, and packaged terminal air conditioners, which require upsizing of main and secondary breaker load centers to handle amp and wattage loads, Mitsubishi Electric VRF equipment often can be designed to save costs related to overall power supply.

  • Labor

    Mitsubishi Electric systems are designed to minimize labor required for installation, reduce the amount of equipment needed to function, and eliminate the need for teardown/buildup of walls, roofs, ceilings, back rooms, etc.

  • Rigging

    Mitsubishi Electric's compact indoor and outdoor units can be transported in standard elevators, saving the cost of expensive rigs and lifts.

  • Structural reinforcement

    Many traditional HVAC systems are heavy, requiring roof reinforcement to meet code and prevent damage to buildings. Mitsubishi Electric systems are small in comparison, scalable, and rarely require reinforcement of roofs or other structures.

  • Building-controls integration

    Mitsubishi Electric VRF and P-Series ductless equipment features independent DIDO-based controllers for dozens to hundreds of zones in a building. Another option is integration of controls into existing or newly upgraded LONworks or BACnet systems for centralized control.

  • Drilling and environmental considerations

    Some technologies, such as ground-source heat pumps, require bore-hole drilling and environmental-impact studies. Once sized for the design and zoning needs of a building, VRF systems essentially are plug-and-play.

Design Costs and Considerations

Mitsubishi Electric equipment can help resolve a number of design issues:

  • Placement and routing of ductwork

    With Mitsubishi Electric's ductless indoor units, there is no need to design soffits, etc. to conceal ductwork. Ducted units are positioned near the zone, and runs of ductwork are short.

  • Unit placement

    Mitsubishi Electric's indoor and outdoor units are compact and quiet, providing greater flexibility in terms of placement.

  • Space

    Mitsubishi Electric's small refrigerant lines take up less space in mechanical chases and rooms, allowing chases to be made smaller.

  • System scaling

    Mitsubishi Electric units can be added easily and efficiently as building needs grow and change.

  • Ceiling height

    With no ductwork needed, buildings can have finished ceilings, higher ceilings, more natural ambient light, and, potentially, more floors.

Other Considerations

Mitsubishi Electric also can help with:

  • Financing

    Less time spent on projects means shorter borrowing periods and less interest paid.

  • Building uptime

    Less time spent renovating and installing means less disruption to building occupants.

The Mitsubishi Electric Advantage

When you research HVAC systems, be sure to talk to Mitsubishi Electric, the leader in INVERTER-driven split-ductless and ducted comfort systems and VRF zoning solutions in the United States. We will show you how our zoning solutions can save you money on a total-installed-costs basis. And when you consider the many other advantages of a Mitsubishi Electric system — precise comfort zoning, energy efficiency, scalability, simultaneous cooling and heating, low service requirements, and more — you soon will discover why we are the smart choice for just about any application.

Want to know more about how our smart solutions can help you save money on total installed costs? Just visit, or call 1-800-433-4822.

TABLE 1 Mitsubishi Electric VRF Four-pipe chiller Unitary VAV Ground-sourceheat pump Condensing unit u u u u u Indoor air handler(s) u u u u u Refrigerant-loop piping and insulation u u u u u Energy/heat-recovery ventilation u u u u u Controllers and automation u u u u u Refrigerant u u u u Refrigerant branch controller u u Heat-exchanger loop u u Trunk/branch ductwork u u u u Ductwork insulation u u u u Pumps u u Water storage/expansion u u Supplemental boiler/chiller u Water piping (chiller/condensed) u Dampers and accessories for airflow u u u u Well-field land area u Test-and-balance procedure u u Environmental studies u u