Project profile: Headquarters energy efficiency improvement
Franklin Energy saves 32% on electric, 48% on gas with VRF zoning systems.
Project name: Franklin Energy headquarters
Project type: Existing building retrofit
Engineering Firm: Auer Steel & Heating Supply Co.
Building type: Office buildings
Location: Port Washington, WI
Timeline: January 2011 – January 2011
Franklin Energy moved its 10,000-sq-ft national headquarters into a historic structure on the shores of Lake Michigan in January 2011. The structure previously served as a city processing plant. The company had always made its headquarters a showcase for the firm’s approach to energy efficiency. The newest headquarters thus needs to continue this tradition.
Because of the building’s orientation and outdated glass windows, solar gain was a huge issue for HVAC system selection.
The first suggestion was to install a hydronic heat system in the new headquarters, but it was rejected because it was out of step with his high energy-efficiency goals. Auer Steel & Heating Supply’s then suggested a variable refrigerant flow (VRF) zoning system from Mitsubishi Electric US Cooling & Heating Division (Mitsubishi Electric). VRF zoning technology was an ideal choice for Franklin Energy for several reasons:
- Ease of installation
- Sound attenuation
- Ability for load-sharing (not possible with conventional systems)
- INVERTER-driven compressor
- Small footprint and lightweight modularity of the outdoor units
- Simultaneous cooling and heating ability
- Electric Energy Usage: CBECS average – 17.9 kWh/ft2/yr; Franklin Energy actual – 12.2 kWh/ft2/yr (32% savings)
- Gas Energy Usage: CBECS average – 42.3 ft3/ft2/yr; Franklin Energy actual – 21.9 ft3/ft2/yr (48% savings)