SUNY Polytechnic Hilltop Residence Hall

Utica, NY
Hilltop Residence Hall is a 78,000 square foot college residential dormitory with 139 rooms spanning four floors. The goal was to exceed existing energy codes by making the building “zero-net, carbon certified,” meaning that the amount of energy used annually will be equal to or less than the amount it can produce through renewable resources. The challenge here from an HVAC standpoint is twofold: first, we had to minimize energy consumption from said HVAC system (the single highest energy consumer in most commercial buildings) and second, we had to account for (and ensure compatibility with) the renewable energy production systems that will be added to the building in the future.

Our solution was to select a Daikin Geothermal Water Cooled VRV system which provide 164 tons of heat recovery. Given the natural energy efficiency of the system combined with the space we had to work with, this provided an elegant solution to meet the needs of the building. In terms of the space, each residential floor had its own mechanical room centrally located, each with twenty tons of condenser within them. The VRV units fit easily into these rooms and the double door access provided plenty of space for easy servicing.

A nice feature of this system is the individualized control; we equipped each dorm room with its own VRV “head” that provides independent heating or cooling as required per space.

Efficiency benefits include “heat sharing” through the refrigerant loop, which is accomplished using heat recovery style condensers and branch selector boxes. A secondary level of heat sharing is accomplished within the water loop interconnecting all the Daikin RWEYQ Heat Recovery refrigerant condensers. And finally, the heat required to ADD or REJECT from the water loop is done so through a geothermal well field just outside the building. Underground and out of site.

The entire system is interconnected through the Daikin DIII Net control architecture and connected to the campus’ BMS system through a Daikin I-Touch Manager with BACNET interface. Very manageable and user-friendly.

This geothermal application of the Daikin VRV system is one of the most energy-efficient air conditioning systems available on the market, making it an excellent choice given our customer’s specific needs. Results have been great so far and put the building well on its way toward its zero-net goal. Seeing how this is an engineering school, maybe they’ll also make the study of this system part of the curriculum.

-J. Patrick Hart, Senior Sales Engineer, Syracuse