A Country Club’s Transition to Eco-Friendly Heating and Cooling

VRF Systems

Brae Burn Country Club, a prestigious golf club located in West Newton, Massachusetts, wanted to update their HVAC to eco-friendly heating and cooling. In January 2024, LC Anderson installed a new Variable Refrigerant Flow (VRF) system to replace the central HVAC system in the club’s men’s and women’s locker rooms. This case study reviews the project details and explains the benefits of VRF systems and how they can help businesses save money and improve energy efficiency.

Project Overview

  • Client: Brae Burn Country Club in Newton, Massachusetts
  • Old System: Central system with 20 fan-coil units
  • New System: VRF system, 18 indoor units, one 16-ton outdoor unit, centralized and local controllers
  • Mass Save Rebate: $53,000 for natural gas elimination

VRF systems are a type of HVAC system that uses multiple indoor units connected to a single outdoor unit. Each indoor unit can be controlled independently, providing zone-specific heating and cooling. This contrasts with traditional central systems, which provide heating and cooling to the entire building at once.

Objectives and Challenges

The main objective was to replace the natural gas-based central heating and cooling system with a state-of-the-art VRF system to improve efficiency, provide redundancies, and reduce the club’s carbon footprint. This transition was part of a larger renovation, including the remodeling of men’s and women’s locker rooms, which all needed to be completed before the summer.  

With every project there are challenges, and this project was no exception. The first challenge was that the equipment needed for the transition was not available. LCA proposed, and the client accepted, ordering a slightly larger unit to solve the lead time issue and keep the renovation on schedule. Other challenges included the removal of the old equipment and the subsequent ceiling repairs and working around and coordinating with the other renovation contractors.

Advantages of VRF Systems for Eco-Friendly Heating & Cooloing

Transition to Eco-friendly heating and cooling

Compared to older systems like boilers and fan-coil units, VRF systems offer:

  • Increased Efficiency: Higher energy efficiency reduces operational costs.
  • Improved Comfort with Custom Control:  With individualized temperature control, VRF systems improve comfort because each indoor unit can be set to a different temperature.
  • Environmental Benefits: VRF systems use refrigerants that have a lower environmental impact than the refrigerants used in traditional systems.
  • Reduced Carbon Footprint: Electric heating reduces dependence on fossil fuels.
  • Improved Air Quality: Enhanced ability to manage humidity and air purity.
  • Space Efficiency: Compact design saves valuable space.
  • Redundancy: Ensures consistent comfort even if one unit fails.
  • Reduced Noise: VRF systems are quieter than traditional systems because the outdoor unit is located away from the building.

LC Anderson’s Role and Execution

  • Project Management: Timely coordination with other contractors and creative solutions to equipment lead times.
  • Technical Expertise: Addressing challenges like ceiling repairs and outdated piping schematics.
  • Energy Efficiency Consulting: Utilizing AHRI standards and third-party engineering recommendations to optimize system size and efficiency.
  • Post-Installation Support: Scheduled follow-up in March for commissioning and performance assessment.

“We chose LC Anderson to replace the aging HVAC system in our locker rooms because they had performed complex jobs for us previously and I was confident in their work,” stated Eric DeWitt, the club’s facilities manager. “Demetrius, the on-site leader, provided frequent updates throughout the four-week project, ensuring it stayed on schedule.” “I anticipate this will enhance efficiency and member comfort in the locker rooms. We’ve used VRF systems in other parts of the club, and they’re quiet, effective, and easier to maintain than our old system.”

Eric recommends LC Anderson: “They invest in their technicians, who are professional, friendly, and knowledgeable. While they may not be the cheapest, we’ve been using them for repairs and maintenance for five years, and they always get the job done right.”

Learn more about VRF systems or contact us for additional information.

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