VRF system key in bringing indoor comfort to Orlando shelter
The Women's Residential and Counseling Center in Orlando had an outdated and inefficient chilled water system that was becoming too costly for the shelter to operate.
The Orlando-based Women’s Residential and Counseling Center is a transitional establishment for local women and children who have experienced hardship and are looking for a safe place to temporarily call home. The center operates around the clock to serve the community and provide shelter for those who need it most.
After years of helping countless families get back on their feet, the center’s leadership recognized the need for a facility upgrade and put plans in motion to install a new, energy-efficient air conditioning system, according to LG.
Prior to the renovation, the shelter’s concrete building was operating with an outdated water chiller system with leaky pipes and large fan coils. The system was loud, disruptive, energy inefficient and costing the shelter upward of $2,000 per month to operate, LG said. In hot and humid Orlando, where air conditioning systems are essential for day-to-day comfort, the shelter was in urgent need of an immediate upgrade. To continue providing their residents with a comfortable place to call home, the women’s shelter needed a heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system that was both energy- and cost-efficient.
The project criteria
The women’s shelter operates solely on raised funds, donations and grants, so the outdated and inefficient chilled water system was becoming too costly for the shelter to operate in the year-round Florida heat. A more efficient and effective HVAC solution was needed.
The shelter is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, so shutting down the entire building for construction was not an option. The HVAC system selected had to allow for a phased process of partial installations, while still functioning properly in other parts of the building.
What’s more, the comfort of the women and children there is a top priority, so the shelter also needed a system that operates quietly, both indoors and out.
After running comprehensive energy analyses and evaluating both the renovation criteria and available HVAC technologies, the engineering team at RTM Associates selected the LG Multi VTM variable refrigerant flow (VRF) system with heat recovery and zoning capabilities would be the most cost effective solution for the shelter. The system would allow for a phased installation with the additional benefit of room-by-room temperature control. Equally significant, the LG heat recovery technology would continually provide lower energy consumption in the building by moving waste heat from zones that need cooling to zones that need heat.
With Multi V’s modular design, the LG VRF technology allowed the installation crews to close less than 25 percent of the building at any one time while allowing the rest of the space to remain open, comfortable and cool for residents. The contractor separated the building into four areas on two floors for a total of eight phases of construction. In each closed portion of the building, contractors were able to install the new system and have the phases ready for use, two weeks at a time.
When determining the right HVAC system for the shelter, one goal of both the shelter and the installation crew was to keep the sound of the air conditioning systems as quiet as possible, both indoors and outdoors. The only space available to install the outdoor units was next to the center’s playground, so LG’s VRF outdoor units (that operate at just 59 dBA) were the ideal solution and did not require an additional acoustic fence. To help create a more peaceful environment, the contractor’s installed LG ceiling cassettes and wall-mounted indoor units that operate at sound levels as low as 24 dBA.
“LG’s VRF system was the clear solution because we were able to install a zoned system that allowed us to renovate in phases to minimize exposing residents to construction, while installing an extremely silent HVAC system,” said Mitesh Smart, principal of RTM Associates. “This project was unique because we wanted to focus on creating a peaceful environment throughout the construction process, as well as after the installation was complete.”
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Companies: LG HVAC