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Case Study: Forestville Elementary School in Great Falls, VA

Fairfax County is home to one of the largest school systems in Northern Virginia, and they are always on the lookout for new technologies to improve the energy efficiency of the schools while making them more comfortable for the students and teachers. One elementary school in the Fairfax County school district is Forestville Elementary, and since it was originally built in 1980, it was well overdue for an upgrade.

When the district heard about the benefits of VRF—including its ability to heat and cool simultaneously and provide individualized comfort to a variety of spaces—they opted to upgrade Forestville Elementary School’s HVAC system with ductless VRF equipment.

The Goal: Provide Efficient Heating and Cooling to Admin Areas and to Classrooms

Standing at 38 years old, the heating and cooling system in Forestville Elementary was in desperate need of an upgrade. They still relied on outdated technologies to keep the space comfortable, and these technologies were not only terribly ineffective, they were quite expensive to operate. Teachers and students complained about fickle temperatures and it was interfering with learning.

The school needed an option that would heat and cool both the smaller admin offices and classrooms and the larger common areas. They also wanted an HVAC system that could run in each room independently, but that also allowed for one overall control location for ease of use. Finally, they needed something that could work within their current building structure, so space for ductwork was limited.

The Solution: Ductless VRF Equipment

When the VRF job at Forestville Elementary was opened up for a public bid, the CE VRF team partnered with the SE, Ryan Ostrye, to put together a competitive bid. After several bids, the project was awarded to CE VRF, and the winning contractor was City Wide Mechanical. CE worked closely with City Wide Mechanical throughout the entire install process to make sure everything worked as planned. In total, 130 tons of heat recovery VRF equipment was installed in both the admin areas and the classrooms. The system allowed for each room to control their own temperature, while still providing administrators with overall control of the entire system via the indoor control unit. And the ductless VRF equipment easily fit the structural needs of the school.

The Results: A Better Learning Environment

With the new VRF equipment up and running, the school couldn’t be happier. They are able to effectively keep each admin office and classroom at a comfortable temperature no matter how extreme the weather outside gets. So instead of worrying about being freezing cold or way too hot, students and teachers can focus on the task at hand: learning. Additionally, the school is enjoying lower energy expenses. For Forestville Elementary, ductless VRF equipment was a no brainer, and they couldn’t be more pleased with the results.