Erickson's newest campuses for middle-income people over 62 budget for premium equipment and reap long-term energy-saving benefits.

HVAC equipment selection for new developments at Erickson, Baltimore, carries unique criteria: If it's the industry's latest high-efficiency equipment, Erickson wants it.

Erickson is a national developer/manager of campuses for middle-income individuals and families over the age of 62. While other developers rely on two-pipe ventilators in multiple unit residential buildings, Erickson's standard HVAC specification requires the more efficient water source heat pump system. At one of 15 Erickson communities, the 103-acre Ann's Choice, Warminster, PA, the project's consulting engineer increased the efficiency as well as indoor air comfort, by water source heat pump methodology. Farshad Kassiri, vice president of Towson, MD-based Kibart Inc., a mechanical/electrical/plumbing consulting engineering firm that handled recent construction phases at Ann's Choice, added DRY-O- TRON® make-up air units by Dectron Inc., Roswell, GA. These units feature reverse cycle heat pump, modulating hot gas reheat and variable heat pump capacity options to deliver an additional 10% or more energy savings to the ongoing project, which was designed by Marks, Thomas Architects, Baltimore, MD.

Using this latest technology ensures that the equipment being specified today for the under-construction Phase II of residential buildings number six through 10 and a second clubhouse, will remain state-of-the-art by 2010 when the project is completed with a total of 20 residential buildings, four clubhouses and a chapel. The fact that energy costs will be predictably higher in 2010 promises exponential savings from equipment options such as modulating hot gas reheat and reverse cycle heat pumps.

"Both Erickson and their residents have a stake in the energy bills, so energy efficiency is a high priority,"

Instead, Kassiri uses one Dectron Inc., DRY-O-TRON Series DK dehumidifying make-up air unit for each residential building. The top floor unit supplies dehumidified and pre-conditioned air to each floor's common areas and corridor via a vertical trunk line located in a utility chase. The corridor is slightly pressurized so that 100% outside make-up air infiltrates each unit from the corridor and exhausts through apartment bathroom vents. Make-up air is delivered at a 50-55% relative humidity at 72

Earlier designs specified HVAC units for each floor, but Kibart has abandoned that idea to save approximately 800 sq. ft. per residential building. When equated to local building costs of $125/sq.-ft., Kassiri's newest one-unit design saves Erickson approximately $100,000 per residential building in construction costs while also adding more valuable revenue-producing living space. "We used to put a HVAC unit on each residential floor, but have found that one large make-up air unit saves an enormous amount of space, which is then used for additional living area per building,"

While the Dectron's energy efficiency-producing options have interested Kibart and Ann's Choice, the indoor air quality manufacturer's new space-saving vertical make-up air Model DKV Series will offer additional savings in future planned buildings. Additionally, the DKV Series is designed for service access from two sides instead of one, enabling it to be positioned in a corner, thus saving more valuable floor space. By consuming 40-60% less mechanical room floor space versus the larger footprints of standard horizontal units, Erickson will have additional living space per floor.

Each phase, which consists of five residential buildings and a clubhouse, has its own self-sufficient and independent central water source loop. Besides the heat pumps and make-up air units, additional equipment consists of two Baltimore Air Coil, Baltimore, MD, cooling towers and two Tranter PHE Inc., Wichita Falls, TX, plate and frame heat exchangers. Five Bell & Gossett, Morton Grove, IL, vertical split-case pumps are used for the cooling tower loop (two pumps) and condenser water closed loop (two pumps), with one pump as a standby.

In the Ann's Choice new 55,000-square-foot clubhouse, Kassiri uses heat pumps in smaller spaces, and two higher grade Dectron DKV Series HVAC units with dehumidification capabilities serving a large auditorium with high occupancy rates. The dehumidification capabilities of the HVAC units are especially critical because the summer month humidity loads are too great for conventional air conditioning to overcome. The clubhouse also houses the central plant that accommodates four residential buildings and a chapel. The first clubhouse at Ann's Choice also uses a separate Dectron DRY-O-TRON dehumidifier custom designed for the high humidity loads of the facility's indoor swimming pool.

Based on their current success at Ann's Choice, Kibart and Erickson will continue to push the envelope for indoor comfort and energy efficiency. Dectron is accommodating Kassiri's new designs that will incorporate plug fans for more directional flexibility in ducting out of the make-up air unit, plus variable frequency drives for additional energy savings. "You can't always provide state-of-the-art designs to a client by using off-the-shelf equipment,"