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Case Study for USS North Carolina

The USS North Carolina is a historic World War II battleship that has become a popular tourist attraction in Wilmington, North Carolina, not only for the tour of its superstructure, but now, as a facility to accommodate meetings or other gatherings. Attempting to maintain the authenticity of the ship’s structure without altering the aesthetics, while keeping the internal spaces comfortable, was a challenging task. However, Carrier Enterprise’s use of the Toshiba Carrier VRF, installed by Jacksonville Heating Contractors, was the perfect combination for the historic renovation.

The Goal: Regulate the Temperature in Varying Areas While Maintaining the Historic Appearance of the Ship

There were many areas on the USS North Carolina that needed an HVAC upgrade—the conversion of the Ward Room to a museum/meeting space and the addition of heating and cooling to the guest bathrooms, office spaces, and catering room. The difficulty in achieving these tasks was that applying traditional HVAC systems just would not work due to the constraints of the existing facilities. Because the requirement of maintaining the historic appearance of the ship was paramount, there were few areas to route the required piping and VRF equipment–the available overhead space was extremely minimal, the space in the walls practically non-existent with the solid metal walls of the ship nearly 12-inches in some spots, and finally, because the ship attracts so much foot traffic, the outdoor units of the VRF system needed to be located out of sight from the public. On top of all of this, because of the construction and location of the ship, the ship’s temperatures could vary greatly depending on the location of the sun and the size of the space. Therefore, after analyzing existing conditions and requirements, the project construction team quickly realized there was only one HVAC system solution that could work within these nearly impossible constraints.

The Solution: Toshiba Carrier Heat Recovery VRF

When reviewing the renovation challenges the USS North Carolina was facing, Carrier Enterprise and the construction team knew that the Toshiba Carrier Heat Recovery VRF would be the ideal HVAC solution. It would provide superior heating and cooling capabilities and could be installed in the few areas that were available on the ship. Because the VRF system is capable of connecting multiple indoor units to one exterior unit, only two heat recovery outdoor units were necessary for the entire ship. These units were placed together on the starboard side of the ship, tucked away from guests’ view. However, more importantly, the small footprint and neutral appearance of the interior components allow them to blend into the walls and ceilings, maintaining the “nearly” original appearance. In total, the USS North Carolina Battleship project has 20-tons of Toshiba Carrier VRF system installed and 14 indoor units (a combination of high wall units and ceiling cassettes) all centrally controlled.

The Results: Improved Performance and Appearance

With the Toshiba Carrier VRF systems up and running, the USS North Carolina employees and visitors couldn’t be happier. The employees are more productive, because they no longer have to be disturbed by the noisy wall units that used to be in their offices, and the meeting and event areas look more authentic–you can be assured that employees and visitors rarely complain about the temperature onboard! Most importantly, the management at the USS North Carolina is thrilled with both the appearance of the VRF systems and their efficiencies.

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