What Is An Integrated Mechanical Design?

Positive Energy’s Integrated Mechanical Design approach integrates climate, occupancy, use and the modeled performance of the enclosure. We use engineering principles, code compliance, Air Conditioning Contractors of America (ACCA) and the American Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) standards to guide the design work, which encompasses accurate load analysis, proper Variable Refrigerant Flow (VRF) equipment selection, air distribution system design and diffuser selection for optimal comfort delivery, airflow, mixing and acoustic performance. We specify rigorous commissioning goals and standards. We also consider the interrelated aspects of thermal comfort (ASHRAE Std 55), and ventilation (ASHRAE Std 62.2) for indoor air quality.

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I Have More Questions!


how does a design benefit my health and comfort?

Let's start with health.

  • If there's no air moving across your filter, it's not capturing particulate matter from your air that can trigger chronic allergy conditions, asthma and other health impacts.
    • VRF equipment constantly runs at a very low power level to filter, distribute, and mix the air in your home.
  • VRF equipment constantly runs at a very low power level to filter, distribute, and mix the air in your home.
  • Dedicated dehumidification is crucial to dealing with potentially harmful humidity levels in your health
    • This can help mitigate things like mold mycotoxins, microbial VOCs, dust mites, pests, & critters!

What about comfort?

  • First of all, comfort is not as simple as just the air temperature.
    • This might surprise you, but your body doesn't experience the air temperature per se. It's actually experiencing the gaining or losing of heat - which we call discomfort.
    • The core factors affecting your comfort are
      • Air Temperature
      • Humidity 
      • Air Speed
      • Temperatures of the Surfaces Around You
  • Integrated Mechanical Design takes into account ALL factors that could negatively affect your comfort.
  • And we do it with science!  

Can't my installer do this design?

You hire an architect because they are skilled at designing your home. If you just wanted a home to be installed on your site, you could just have a team of subcontractors to build you a house. But do they have the same depth of design knowledge - no, they're thinking about parts and pieces, not about the occupant's experience. The same goes for your HVAC system. 

Our design work is based on a sympathetic understanding of your climate zone, your enclosure, how the human body/mind perceives comfort and your specific comfort preferences. We specialize at designing HVAC systems that are based on the health and comfort of you and your family. 

Your health, your project timeline, and your wallet all benefit in the long run by having a thorough, documented, and detailed design. 

won't a design slow my installation down?

Actually, quite the opposite. A detailed, scaled design takes the guess-work out for everyone involved. This means everyone knows exactly what space in the home is designated for equipment and distribution systems. Engineered designs help to avoid pricing surprises, installation delays and comfort issues - everyone benefits.

Smart installers appreciate the peace of mind and recognize the value of a a design - it means they can spend more time installing more jobs instead of getting tangled up solving a 3-dimensional HVAC Sudoku in real time on the jobsite.

If nobody's designed the system before time for installation, it's too late!


Why should i go VRF instead of conventional?

It's simple - the mainstream HVAC systems in North America are long overdue to catch up with the rest of the world. Conventional units operate in two modes - full-speed or off. Does that sound efficient? Imagine your car running that way! VRF changes the game by putting an accelerator pedal into the equation. Suddenly you can meet part-load needs efficiently and avoid wear and tear on your system.

The average lifetime for conventional units is 12-15 years while the average lifetime for VRF systems is 20-25 years. Mainstream US HVAC manufacturers are phasing out conventional equipment from their product lines and phasing in VRF. 

Don't buy the HVAC equivalent of lime green appliances and shag carpet. 

is VRF Equipment Price Competitive With Conventional or Two Stage equipment?

If you're talking about just the equipment itself, there's not a big price premium. High end conventional 2 stage equipment is roughly on par with VRF. The manufacturer support is strong, but the installer market hasn't fully matured. But as the installer familiarity with VRF equipment grows and matures, the major price differentials will disappear. 

Depending on the manufacturer, some VRF equipment is even cheaper than conventional!


What Is The ROI On using VRF equipment?

First of all, let's look at the concept of ROI from the perspective of HVAC systems. We're talking about your health and comfort, so it's a lot like asking for someone to calculate the ROI of healthy food or your comfortable bed. Can you calculate that? However, the long term costs of ownership for VRF equipment are lower and they do add up over time. The typical ROI timeframe is 5-7 years (there are a lot of variables at play here, your mileage may vary).

What is the ROI of increased health/comfort?

I wasn't anticipating paying this much for VRF design. what gives?

Look, we get it, you're probably not used to paying for HVAC design at all. Just like you may have not always been used to wearing a seat belt - sometimes the standard of care needs to improve. Keep in mind that our design fee typically comes in at less than 1% of construction costs, often less than 0.5%. Think about that for a moment. We're talking about less than 1/2 to 1% of construction costs to design the health and comfort delivery system for your home, your lungs, and your family. Plus, if you compare HVAC design costs to other line items like door or window packages, the price is laughable. 

You don't want the home to fall down, so you hire a structural engineer. You don't want the house to be unhealthy or uncomfortable so you hire a mechanical engineer to design your HVAC system. 

We've got sophisticated electronics in our pockets, behind our steering wheels, and on our wrists. It's time to focus on the space we live in every day. If you value quality and appreciate the fruition of engineered system, then ask for an Integrated Mechanical Design™

Quality costs a little extra. Don't cheap out on such an important piece of your home!