The Center for Sustainability at Johnson County Community College (JCCC), Overland Park, Kansas, set aggressive goals for the College, including becoming a 100% renewable energy campus by 2050. This commitment affected every building project on campus, including Galileo’s Pavilion, a 3,000-square-foot academic building. Super-efficient practices and products, including Mitsubishi Electric Cooling & Heating Variable Refrigerant Flow (VRF) technology, have made Galileo’s Pavilion a true showcase of sustainability and earned LEED® Platinum certification.
The JCCC contacted Studio 804, a not-for-profit in Lawrence, Kansas, comprised of KU School of Architecture, Design and Planning graduate students. These students design and construct technologically sophisticated, green buildings under the direction of Dan Rockhill, distinguished architecture professor and Studio 804 founder. Rockhill said, “We designed Galileo’s Pavilion using our current knowledge of sustainable design. We took advantage of the daily and seasonal cycles of nature to passively cool, heat and daylight the building, as well as supply electricity and utility water.”
For HVAC, Rockhill said, “We had three distinctly separate spaces. Although they’re in the same building, the loading on them is different. So that resulted in three separate air-conditioning and heating solutions” – or, zoning. “We pride ourselves on promoting sustainable everything, so HVAC is no exception.” VRF was the clear choice.
Rockhill had been impressed with Mitsubishi Electric VRF on a recent project. “Mitsubishi [Electric] is a leader in its field. Many of the others follow, but Mitsubishi [Electric] developed the variable refrigerant concept. For Galileo’s Pavilion, we wanted the most technologically advanced equipment in the industry. So VRF and its capacity to simultaneously cool and heat all of the spaces within the building was a fit.”
He continued, “Mitsubishi [Electric] was also very generous in working on the engineering aspect of the Center for Design Research. Mitsubishi [Electric] gets passive solar, and gets that it’s the sum of the total of all the parts that makes the systems positive. And there was never any pushback from them. It was always, “Yeah, that’s great.”
“Installation went quite well. The Mitsubishi [Electric] units are compact and easy enough to install that the whole thing really was pretty simple,” said Rockhill.
“The school monitors the whole thing,” explained Michael Rea, JCCC’s sustainability project manager, “through our building automation system. The Mitsubishi [Electric] system is integrated so we can see humidity or change set points, for example.”
He continued, “Everything with the Mitsubishi [Electric] system has been going well. No compressor failures, no leaks, no fan problems, nothing. Our maintenance is easy, too – just changing the filters and making sure the condensers are clean.”
Another sign of success: LEED Platinum certification. Rea said, “For us in the Center, we were excited to get above Silver, our current standard. Galileo’s Pavilion is a showcase about what a sustainable building can be on a campus. We were also honored to receive the 2013 CSI Kansas City Chapter Innovation in Sustainability Award for the building.”