NAHB Best In American Living - Winter 2018 - v2 - 4
PHOTOGRAPHY BY DENISE RETALLACK
Residents at Discovery at
The Realm enjoy a wide
range of high-end
amenities, including this
clubhouse serving beer
and wine. With VRF
technology, they also can
low electric bills.
In multifamily projects, VRF technology normally
utilizes obtrusive wall-mounted units. At Discovery
at The Realm, traditional ceiling HVAC vents were
used, making them indistinguishable from units
with standard HVAC units. Residents report they
are extremely quiet.
4 BEST IN AMERICAN LIVING | www.bestinamericanliving.com
would need to be placed around the perimeter of the building,
resulting in an unusable landscape. VRF allows developers to
gain 20-30 percent more space than they normally would by
using traditional technologies.
"We also wanted a more efficient system because we believe
that residents focus not just on what they pay for rent, but on
their total, out-of-pocket occupancy cost."
The design team accepted the challenge to utilize VRF in a
manner that reaped all its benefits [see 'Quick Facts About VRF']
while avoiding unsightly wall-mounted air handlers inside the
living space, Bright added.
"The ingenuity of the engineering and mechanical
application sets the bar for the industry as a whole," he said.
"More importantly, the positive impact on quality of life for
residents is immeasurable."
The additional cost to Bright Realty for VRF was $3,800 per
unit, for a project total of $1,607,400.
RISING TO THE CHALLENGE
parking, an exercise facility that offers group yoga classes, a
dog park, and a resort-style, multi-level pool. Discovery's VRF
system adds to that impressive list.
"In the design of Discovery, we were looking to solve the
typical HVAC-related challenges facing multifamily," Bright
Realty Chief Executive Officer Chris Bright said. Traditional
HVAC requires one condenser per unit, so in the case of a
building with 100 units, 100 unsightly, noisy condensers
Originally slated to be equipped with traditional split systems,
the developer challenged the team to develop a greenfield
solution using VRF technology in a new way, making the system
less intrusive and more cost efficient for both residents and the
developer, Andres Construction Project Manager Jared Powell said.
"At the time, no one in the market area was using VRF for
multifamily," Powell said. "Through a combination of determination and teamwork, the project resulted in a ground-breaking
implementation that is better than both the standard HVAC and
the traditional VRF."
Typically, multifamily developments that use VRF have
utilized obtrusive wall-mounted units. Discovery instead
engineered the use of traditional ceiling HVAC venting for air