Fort Worth's historic downtown art-deco Sinclair building, now a Marriott Autograph Collection hotel, boasts its new variable refrigerant flow (VRF) HVAC system which raised the first-floor ceilings and cleared the roof for a new bar.
Baird, Hampton & Brown (BHB) provided civil, electrical, and mechanical/plumbing engineering design services to make the building one of the most technologically advanced hotels in the world.
Variable refrigerant flow (VRF) system
As part of the renovation, BHB's mechanical engineers were tasked with replacing the building's traditional hydronic heating and cooling system with the increasingly popular variable refrigerant flow (VRF). VRF is a type of air-conditioning system that adjusts refrigerant flow to different areas of a building as needed, instead of distributing large quantities of refrigerant at all times. This technique creates practical zoning, giving occupants the ability to adjust their space temperature to their preferred comfort level. An added advantage is that VRF is one of the most sustainable systems on the market.
"The VRF system helps The Sinclair be a more efficient and smarter building. A hotel room's AC unit will respond to the person who walks in and automatically know what set-point temperature they are looking for," stated Gibran Michel, BHB Associate and Senior Mechanical Designer.
VRF outdoor units
BHB's design of the hotel's VRF system was the firm's largest to date. Since VRF does not require as much ductwork and space as a traditional HVAC system, the team was able to raise the ceiling heights and bring in ornate windows on the lobby level. In addition, the VRF outdoor units were placed in the alleyway instead of the roof, which made room for a rooftop bar.
The Sinclair held its grand opening in January 2020 and now offers a unique and modern experience while maintaining its stylish look and feel, thanks in part to its advanced VRF HVAC system.