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Ductless VRF Provides an Energy Efficient Solution for Virginia Middle School

Case Study: Richmond County Middle School

Richmond County Middle School is a historic educational facility in Warsaw, Virginia. Originally built in the early 1900’s, it was converted into the school it is today in the 80’s. Since then, very little has been done to the building and its mechanical systems. They were still using inefficient radiant heat and PTAC cooling units, until an upgrade was no longer deemed optional.

After reviewing the options, Richmond County Middle School officials agreed that the Toshiba-Carrier VRF heat pump system was the preferred solution, over using several ductless mini split systems. The Toshiba-Carrier VRF system was chosen because it can provide individual controls for the four classrooms, two bathrooms, two offices, and the common space that the building contains.

The Goal: Improve Efficiency for Several Spaces

Since the Richmond County Middle School is so old, finding an efficient HVAC system that could meet the building requirements was complicated. The school still depended on radiant heat and PTAC units to provide heating and cooling, and the outdated technologies in their equipment were reflected on the monthly utility bill. The school wanted a system that would improve their energy efficiency, but also wanted something that would allow them an easy solution for superior temperature control throughout their facility. With some large areas, like the common areas, and some small areas, like offices and classrooms, it was challenging to keep everyone comfortable.

The Solution: Toshiba-Carrier VRF

As soon as the issues were discussed, it was known that the Toshiba-Carrier VRF system would be ideal in every way. It would allow the school to remain comfortable in every room during every season, and administrators could control the entire system from one indoor control unit.

To meet the HVAC needs of the four classrooms, two offices, two bathrooms, and the common space, a 16-ton heat pump system was selected. Because of limited access within the structure of the building, the system relies on the piping installation flexibility of the Toshiba-Carrier VRF system where one, 8-port and one, 4-port piping headers connect to 10 high wall units and two exposed floor consoles. The piping lay-out and installation were key to making this project a success—line length consideration and header placement and indoor unit locations and refrigerant isolation ball valve locations were well-planned to make future maintenance and service access simple.

The Results: Ductless VRF for a Better Learning Environment

The project was completed just in the nick of time (one week before school started), and the students and staff were thrilled to be welcomed back to school with comfortable temperatures in every room. They were able to focus more on the work ahead of them instead of either sweating or freezing when they were supposed to be learning. While the benefits of the VRF systems are still being evaluated, it can be said with confidence that the Toshiba-Carrier VRF will receive rave reviews—especially when the first electric bill arrives.