Ductless Cooling Apps Range From Hospitals to Taco Bells
Some HVACR systems seem to be pigeonholed in specific applications. Others cross a number of markets and applications. Today’s ductless systems would fall into the latter category. The two case studies described here, for example, show the product’s application in tropical hospitals and New England fast food restaurants.
The journey to comfort cooling within Bermuda’s hospital system started on Sept. 5, 2003, when Hurricane Fabian scored a direct hit with sustained winds of 126 mph. This caused serious damage to the causeway on the east side of the island. Hundreds of homes and businesses were stranded for four days.
The Bermuda Hospitals Board (BHB), the island’s sole health care provider, decided it was time to plan for two emergency (urgent) care centers (UCC), one on each side of the island.
“The emergency department of King Edward VII Memorial Hospital has been facing a lot of pressure to meet increased patient needs,” said David Hill, BHB’s chief executive officer. “With 35,000 visits to our emergency department last year, it is time to reach beyond the hospital and provide improved medical access at the island ends.”
PROTOTYPE DESIGNTo prepare these two centers, BHB turned to OBM International, Hamilton, Bermuda, for structural and mechanical engineering. For overall design and programming services, BHB selected Cannon Design, Grand Island, N.Y., with whom OBM had joined forces for the creation of many high-profile buildings on the island.
Working with the Bermuda Land Development Corp., BHB acquired property on the old U.S. Naval Air Station site at the eastern side of the island in St. David’s. Under the guidance of BHB’s Director of Emergency Dr. Edward Schultz, M.D., the design team developed plans for Bermuda’s first urgent care center - a prototype two-story, 7,500-square-foot facility that would be replicated on the west side at a future date.
Ground was broken in July 2008. The first UCC opened its doors in April 2009 as the Lamb Foggo Urgent Care Centre.
“City Multi fan coil units are small and limit the amount of possible cross contamination of airflow between individual zones,” he said. “They are extremely quiet - as low as 24 dB(A) - a factor that is especially important in health care facilities.”
He pointed out more system benefits for health care providers, such as the fact that the outdoor units are small and extremely quiet - as low as 56 dB(A). In addition, Bermuda’s energy costs are in the vicinity of $0.30 per kW.
Another consideration is that health care facilities often require different temperatures in different areas at different times, simultaneously - and these systems can provide this. Other benefits include low maintenance costs, factory-mounted controls, and simplified installation.
GOOD FOR BERMUDASkinner said the systems have been marketed, serviced, and supported in Bermuda for the past 10 years. “We like this technology here because the systems deliver more than enough heat required in Bermuda’s winter months,” he said. By contrast, electric resistance heat systems - a common way to provide heat locally - is very costly considering Bermuda’s high energy costs.
Also, because of the proprietary Inverter technology, the VRFZ systems are well suited for hospitals and medical facilities. They provide a high degree of personalized, zoned comfort, energy efficiency, and quiet operation.
“The first six months of Lamb Foggo operation have gone smoothly,” Skinner said. “It’s hard to imagine how we survived all these years without this fine St. David’s facility.”
The contractor keeps a watchful eye on the installed system. “Members of our staff visit the facility regularly to make sure all is running properly,” said Skinner. “I firmly believe the Lamb Foggo design and equipment will provide an ideal prototype for the next urgent care center on the west side of the island.”
LEED GOLD KFC-TACO BELLProviding comfort cooling for fast food restaurants might not seem as critical as it is for health care facilities, but doing it in an energy-efficient way is critical - especially when you consider the number of fast food restaurants out there.
Yum! Brands Inc., Louisville, Ky., is the world’s largest restaurant company. It is the parent of KFC, Pizza Hut, Taco Bell, Long John Silver’s, and A&W All-American Food Restaurants, and stated that it is committed to corporate social responsibility, including its environmental impact. Its first building under the United States Green Building Council’s LEED program was a KFC-Taco Bell restaurant in Northampton, Mass.
From the start of the design process, architect Jonathan Balas, AIA, LEED AP, aimed to achieve LEED Gold status for the new restaurant. Balas wanted it to be a testing lab to study the performance of green technologies and approaches to reduce Yum’s environmental impact.
The design team drew upon numerous cutting-edge, energy-saving technologies, including a solar wall for preheating outdoor air. Balas also asked his engineering consultants to recommend an HVAC system that would help reduce his carbon footprint and contribute LEED credits in the areas of energy, atmosphere, and indoor environmental air quality control.
“We’re thrilled that the Northampton KFC-Taco Bell has been granted LEED Gold certification,” said Balas. “It fuels our passion and commitment to researching green building solutions and sets an example of what is possible for the restaurant industry. This building is our first step in this important effort.”
He added that the system requires less ductwork, “the small outdoor unit tucks in easily on the rooftop, provides good indoor air quality, is energy efficient, and is extremely quiet.”
Scott Nellis, founder of Sunshine Heating and Air Conditioning, Schenectady, N.Y., has been installing HVAC systems all over New England, exclusively in fast food restaurants, for the past 32 years. The Northampton unit was his first experience with ductless systems. He was flown to a training class in Dallas - “a fantastic class,” Nellis said.
Publication date: 01/18/2010