DAIKIN INVERTER TECHNOLOGY HELPS ASSISTED LIVING FACILITY EXCEED LEED GOLD STANDARDS.

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Daikin’s systems require a very low starting current to begin operating, making them a perfect fit for the solar powered energy production this assisted living facility in New Jersey.

When the New Jersey United Cerebral Palsy affiliate decided to build an assisted living facility for people with disabilities, the vision consisted of conventional wooden structures heated and cooled by a standard Packaged Terminal Air Conditioner, systems known as PTACs. By the time it opened in 2007, the design had evolved into a smart and energy-efficient HVAC system with innovative elements of sustainable design.

Today, The Meadows at Oldwick, exceeds LEED Gold standards with its on-site solar-powered energy production exceeding residents’ energy needs, its thermal Concrete Forms (ICF) construction, and its inverter heat pump system by Daikin AC that is thus far 54% more energy efficient than the standard set by the latest International Energy Conservation Code.

"By the time our team hung its last window shade and opened the doors of this community, it had become a prototype of green development for other low-income affordable housing projects," said Peter Ypsilantis of Integrated Green Technologies (IGT), Inc. which served as construction manager/builder on the project.

"One of the first things we did after deciding to go with ICF construction was to revamp the HVAC system design. At its core is a Daikin Variable Refrigerant Volume® system that includes a built-in intelligence providing precise temperature control in every room. This was very instrumental in our goal to conserve energy," said Ypsilantis.

The Meadows at Oldwick is a single-story structure covering about 20 percent of a two-and-half- acre site, with 18 apartments, 11 of which are one-bedroom units while the others are two-bedroom units. The development team decided on incorporating the Daikin VRV heat pump system into the design for a number of reasons, including its lower operating costs,especially under partial load conditions, its quiet operation, and its ability to deliver adequate heat in the cold Northeastern winter.

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With the photovoltaic roof arrays visible on the roofs (from left) Brad Kennedy, Housing Development Manager with the United Cerebral Palsy organization, Andrew Smith, his associate, and Peter Ypsilantis discuss the energy output of the system.

"We knew we wanted to go with an energy-efficient heat pump system, but our research found that only the Daikin system could give the residents the heat they needed, even in below-freezing temperatures. The other heat pump systems we looked at could not guarantee the same performance in very cold weather," Ypsilantis explained.

Peter Ypsilantis of Integrated Green Technologies, the Construction Manager/Builder for The Meadows of Oldwick, points out the features of the Daikin 36K Btu/h VRV®-S heat pumps which supply conditioned air to the two-bedroom units.

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Peter Ypsilantis of Integrated Green Technologies, the Construction Manager/Builder for The Meadows of Oldwick, points out the features of the Daikin 36K Btu/h VRV®-S heat pumps which supply conditioned air to the two-bedroom units.

A mix of Daikin equipment was specified for the project, including eleven 18,000-Btu/h outdoor units for the one-bedroom homes. Each is connected to two indoor wall-mounted FTXS fan coil units individually controlled by wireless remotes. "Having temperature control of each room is essential to Energy Star certification, which was a credential mandated by the government funding we received," Ypsilantis said. He worked with HVAC contractor R.J. Groner Inc., to complete the installation, which also included seven Daikin 36,000-Btu/h VRV-S heat pumps for the two-bedroom apartment units, each of which was connected to three wall-mounted fan coil units in the space. "The variable refrigerant configuration automatically sizes the system to exactly what is needed, which was another benefit to the community and its goal of sustainability," Ypsilantis noted.

R.J. Groner field supervisor, Matt Eisley said he has worked with variable refrigerant flow technology since it was introduced, but this was the first time he had installed a Daikin system. "Our customers really like not having window air conditioners, the quiet operation [which can be as low as 28 decibels], and the ability to zone each room," Eisley noted.

EXCEEDING EXPECTATIONS

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The one-bedroom units at the affordable housing community for people with special needs are heated and cooled by 18K Btu/h Daikin outdoor units.

The one-bedroom units at the affordable housing community for people with special needs are heated and cooled by 18K Btu/h Daikin outdoor units.

So far, the sustainable design of The Meadows at Oldwick is more than exceeding anyone’s expectations. Brad Kennedy of UCP said he gave the example of one unit which recently paid only $2.02 for heating, cooling, domestic hot water, lighting, and all appliances for a 30-day period." Everyone seems happy with the living situation," he said.

It seems hard to argue with the results so far. Besides the extremely low energy costs, the community’s HVAC system has been delivering up to 19 SEER rating for cooling and an 9.2 Heating Season Performance Factor for heating without the use of any electrical resistance heat. The photovoltaic roof arrays have more than exceeded original forecasts of a 45% electricity cost reduction. The Energy Star Certification has a Home Energy Rating as low as 43, which equates to a project more than three times as efficient as the standards set by Energy Star. Ypsilantis noted that the Daikin’s inverter AC systems were a perfect fit for the solar-powered on-site energy production since they require a very low starting current to begin operating.

The green design, which includes dozens of measures in site sustainability, materials and resources, water efficiency, energy and atmosphere, and Indoor Environmental Quality, all add up to a comfortable, healthy, and sustainable community that its residents are proud to call home, says Kennedy.