Medical offices are complex spaces with unique requirements, and often have older, inefficient design and systems that need upgrading. Retrofits are necessary to ensure patient comfort and care, but as medical offices can’t simply shut down, it can be challenging to complete an update.
A recent example of a successful medical office HVAC retrofit is a project in Kentville, Nova Scotia. Through a collaborative effort the stakeholders were able to effectively schedule the overhaul of all the interior zones in the medical building to bring it up to current standards and fit the requirements of the office. The owners wanted an energy-efficient heating and cooling system that was easy to use and would allow for independent control in each space as well as savings on future energy bills.
Given that the renovations needed to be done while the offices conducted regular business, the challenge was to work with minimal disruption. Additionally, work had to be completed outside of the medical office’s regular hours of operation, meaning there was a small timeframe during which work could be done each day. Panasonic also had to work with limited space for the heating and cooling units and that had to be concealed as much as possible.
Due to the space and installation restrictions as well as the features the client wanted, a new three-way Panasonic (heat recovery) Variable Refrigerant Flow (VRF) system with a combination of multiport and individual heat recovery boxes was designed. The advantages of this state-of-the-art system include individual and precise control of heating and cooling needs in different areas rather than a single temperature setting for the whole building. This allows everyone to enjoy a comfortable indoor environment, conserving energy and generating cost-savings on energy bills. Plus, installing a VRF system allows owners/operators to optimize the lifecycle cost of the project and realize long-term savings thanks to its energy efficient technology.
The advantages of the system include easy installation and minimum intrusion to the envelope of the building, as copper pipes that contain refrigerant are being used instead of extensive and costly ductwork. Customers also benefit from pre-installation training and technical support, which is essential for successful operation of the unit.
The project was a great success, with the units operating smoothly to keep the office temperature comfortable while saving energy. The overall feedback from users has been that they appreciate being able to have independent control of the heating and cooling in their area, and that temperatures are well maintained throughout the building. The system is simple, user-friendly and efficient, and the indoor units blend in nicely with the interior and are aesthetically pleasing.
Chuck Hazel, the senior mechanical contractor from C.Tech Refrigeration, a division of the Baxter Group of Companies was very happy with the outcome. “We got a lot of support from Panasonic – from pre-installation to installation and post-installation. The Panasonic VRF system was easy to install and has been seamless for the client. Panasonic delivered on their promise of a top-quality system and I would recommend and work with them on future projects.”
Learn more at panasonic.com/ca/vrf.