HVAC units outside Holden Hall. Gould Academy

BETHEL — Gould Academy recently provided a tour of its new Variable Refrigerant Flow (VRF) System in Holden Hall.

VRF is an HVAC heat pump technology, using refrigerant as the cooling and heating medium. By operating at varying speeds VRF units work only at the needed rate, allowing for significant energy savings. Individual indoor units can simultaneously heat or cool as required, either by generating or moving heat and cold from one space to another. This project will exceed a 60 percent energy reduction over traditional energy-efficient HVAC equipment.

The tour was lead by Jerry Bernier, head of Buildings and Grounds at Gould.

The school showcased its continued progress with High-Performance Building Design to achieve deep energy reductions. Holden Hall dormitory is the most advanced example of this on campus, with the most advanced VRF technology available, the first installation of its type in the United States. The system has been widely used in Europe and Asia over the last few years and has been perfected leading up to this installation.

As part of the tour Bernier described the outside condensing units, branch controllers and air handling units, the energy recovery ventilation unit, how the thermal envelope operates in a 75-year-old building, and how the system looks in a dorm room.

The new system installation is part of a major effort to increase campus-wide energy efficiency. Since 2010 Gould has cut back its lighting energy use by 60 percent by converting more than 2,000 bulbs to LEDs with the assistance of Efficiency Maine. Through a series of energy improvements, new infrastructure, advanced controls and repairs, Gould has also reduced heating fuel/propane costs by $80,000. Water consumption has dropped by roughly a third through automatic flush and flow controls. All of these energy reductions have increased comfort, quality, and safety.

The energy improvements were recommended to Gould by consultant Optimal Energy Group. The solution was designed and implemented by CVAL Innovations.










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