HVACR Solutions to Boost Building Performance

Projects Highlight Ways to Optimize Building Energy Efficiency

ACHR News, July 25, 2016


Brickell City Centre is a new mixed-use complex in Miami that is built locally but designed with a long-term global outlook. When the development of the Brickell City Centre began, Bosch Thermotechnology Corp.’s FHP water-source heat pumps (WSHP) were an obvious choice for the project’s HVAC needs.

The Brickell City Centre features three residential towers with 820 condos and two hotels.

Bosch worked with Jascko Corp.’s Alex Valdes and Thermal Concepts Inc., a Davie, Florida-based mechanical contractor, to get the right combination of price, efficiency, and footprint for the project. Managers at Thermal Concepts knew they needed a high-efficiency solution that was compatible with the unique design objectives and high-end aesthetics of the overall development and worked with Valdes and Bosch Thermotechnology to develop a specialized unit that fit in the limited footprint of the condos within the Centre.

The developer of the Brickell City Centre project focused heavily on the project’s long-term global outlook. A custom variation of the Bosch FHP LV Model WSHP was used in the residential condo units of the Brickell City Centre towers; the units are compact yet extremely energy-efficient, making them an excellent choice for new construction or for energy-saving replacements.

The LV is an option-rich single-stage product that is available in ½- to 6-ton sizes and meets or exceeds ASHRAE 90.1 efficiency ratings. The unit comes with a unique sound package designed to keep sound levels to a minimum while providing maximum comfort. Because they are WSHP, they do not require outside condensing air, which allows for easier placement in enclosed spaces while still allowing for separate metering of utility costs. The units in this project were equipped with single-point electric heat and were seamlessly integrated into the structure’s building management system (BMS), thereby providing operating feedback and easier serviceability.


Engineers at a 359-bed health care facility in Kentucky struggled to keep the hospital’s cafeteria cool amid the Bluegrass State’s humid climate. Condensate in the air-handling unit (AHU) serving the food service area was leaving a residue in the coil — a buildup that reduced airflow through the unit from the 14,000-cfm design parameter to around 10,000 cfm — nearly 30 percent less than what was originally specified. That, of course, meant the unit couldn’t provide enough cooling volume.

In an attempt to boost cooling capacity, the hospital’s maintenance staff tried to increase the volume of airflow over the coil by performing up to three mechanical coil cleanings per year at roughly $300 per treatment. The cafeteria AHU was the worst performer among the medical center’s roughly 30 air handlers, and staff was considering replacing it — a task that would cost more than $20,000 and require the unit to be shut down for two to three days.

Charles Haskins, a sales engineer with Thermal Equipment Sales in Louisville, Kentucky, arranged for a UV-C technology primer from UV Resources (UVR). Ultraviolet germicidal irradiation uses short-wavelength UV-C light to kill microorganisms and degrade organic matter in HVACR equipment. The technology has been used since the 1990s to eliminate microbial and organic material buildup on cooling coils, air filters, duct surfaces, and drain pans. A UV-C-equipped system yields clean air, uses minimal energy, and needs very little maintenance. UV-C can also slash 10-25 percent of HVAC system energy use, and the cost is often less than a fraction of a coil replacement.

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Image credit: By Clayton G – Swire Properties, Inc via Wikimedia Commons