The Orlando, Florida-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.
Prior to the renovation, the shelter’s fully concrete building was operating with an outdated water chiller system with leaky pipes and large fan coils.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 upwards of $2,000 per month to operate. 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. In order to continue providing residents with a comfortable place to call home, the women’s shelter needed a HVAC system that would be both energy- and cost-efficient.
The women’s shelter operates solely on raised funds, donations, and grants, so the outdated and inefficient chilled water system was becoming too costly for the shelter to operate in the year-round Florida heat.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 V™ variable refrigerant flow (VRF) system with heat recovery and zoning capabilities as the most cost effective solution for the shelter. This 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 this 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, 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 an ideal solution and did not require an additional acoustic fence. To help create a peaceful indoor environment, the contractor 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, P.E., LEED AP, principal, 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. Thanks to LG’s technologies, we were able to maintain a calm environment while the shelter was under construction.”
The LG Multi V heat recovery VRF system was the optimal solution to meet the Orlando women’s shelter’s challenges. This system is not only cost-effective, but it is also energy-efficient and quiet — exactly what the shelter required. Furthermore, the contractor was able to provide a phased installation, so the building could still operate as normal during construction. With LG, the shelter can now keep the residents more comfortable while cutting operating costs and saving energy.
For more information, visit www.lghvac.com.
Publication date: 5/9/2016