Worldwide Green Builder Chooses Fujitsu Mini-Splits

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Green Builder Chooses Mini-Splits for Whole-House HVAC

One of the “greenest” home builders in North Carolina, a firm widely recognized for green innovation and commitment to environmental sustainability, has taken their commitment to high efficiency HVAC to a new level. 

Anne & Bradshaw General Contractors, Inc., based in Wrightsville Beach, NC, a suburb of Wilmington in an area known as Cape Fear, chose “green build” as their strategic path several years ago.  “We’ve never regretted the move,” said Pamela Fasse, general contractor and partner in the firm. “I’ve considered myself an environmental builder for many years, with a focus on energy efficiency and sustainability, but went all-out ‘green’ about four years ago.  It appears that we were green before green was in style."

“We feel it’s important to stay current with conservation techniques to minimize cost without sacrificing comfort,” added Fasse.  “There’s a level of global responsibility at work, but we force ourselves to think locally.  After all, as a home builder, we’re apprised of new techniques and technology before consumers are, and it’s right here at home where we can have the greatest impact.  Going a bit more broadly, green construction aids in the preservation of our state’s fragile coastal ecosystems,” says Fasse and her partner/husband, Brad Karl.

One of the key contributors to Anne & Bradshaw’s green-build approach has been the recent addition of ductless mini split air conditioning and heat pump systems.  “My husband and I were traveling in Asia last year; we were amazed at the simplicity and efficiency of the systems, and how they were used everywhere” said Fasse.  “Even at higher elevations in Japan, where it gets quite cold,
mini-splits were meeting the comfort needs of what seemed to be every home and business.”

Fasse returned from her trip and looked into the availability of ductless systems here. “We did a lot of research after that trip,” added Fasse.
“What we found initially was that in this area there was very little
experience with or knowledge about mini split systems except on a one-room scale.” 

When Craig Chadwick, owner of the independent rep firm, Chadwick & Associates, Greensboro, NC, learned through Wilmington’s Four Seasons Heating and Air Conditioning that Pam had interest in knowing more about the systems, he traveled there quickly.  Within a few months, North Carolina’s first whole-house ductless mini-split application was under way. 

Chadwick was the critical link for us,” she added.  “They had expertise on tap and the advantage of their many years in the market.  They gave us a balanced view of how best to apply the technology; they did Manual J load calculations . . . the works.  My husband and I settled on equipment manufactured by Fujitsu, a product line through Chadwick that exceeded our expectations.  We were especially impressed with the manufacturer’s variable-speed Halcyon line.” 

They’ve now installed several Fujitsu split systems in homes they’ve built with the help of Walt Rager and Jamie Fowler of Four Seasons HVAC, and Don Lewis, owner of All Pro Services, an HVAC firm also based in Wilmington.

Lewis eagerly promotes the Halcyon line’s ultra-high efficiency – with ratings of up to 21 SEER and 10.0 HSPF – quiet, reliable operation and sleek design. The Halcyon line now includes 29 air conditioning and heat pump systems with capacity ranges of 9,000 to 42,000 BTUs, many also offering sophisticated Indoor Air Quality (I.A.Q.) plasma air filtration.

“The systems are ideal for heating and cooling, and they’re a great match to Anne & Bradshaw’s green-build emphasis,” said Lewis.  “Mix-and-match evaporators allow me to create the perfect climate control for any size space.”

Standard features include wireless remote control, plasma filter, sleep timer, 24-hour timer, dry mode, auto louver, auto mode, quiet mode, auto restart/reset, auto changeover and efficient operation with low, or high ambient temperatures.  These models feature coil dry mode to help inhibit mold and bacteria growth by reversing the cycle of refrigerant to dry out condensation in the indoor coil without changing room temperature.  During dry coil mode the plasma filter operates to help disinfect the coil.  This feature is helpful in businesses where a system is shut off for the weekend or a vacation home that may be shut down for the season.  

Fasse adds that it can cost up to 10 percent more to build a green home than it does a conventional one. But, ultimately, it costs less to live in them because of their greater energy efficiency and easier maintenance. 

Fasse said the average monthly cost of electricity in her Parade home has been about $50, versus $200 in a conventional home.  “Our homeowners are delighted with the technology and so are we.  We’ve now added a key new ingredient to our green home recipe.”  

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