Other Success Stories

Hillcrest Academy
Pittsfield, MA
Commercial-Scale VRF


Hillcrest Academy of Pittsfield, MA, installed a variable refrigerant flow (VRF) air-source heat pump system in September of 2017 to replace an old 1960’s oil and gas steam heating system.  Hillcrest chose VRF technology because of its energy efficiency, ability to provide both heating and air-conditioning, and ease of installation. The new system provides 212,000 BTU/hour of heating capacity (at 17 degrees F) and 268,000 BTU/ton of cooling capacity to 13,000 square feet of classroom space. 

Hillcrest opted for a VRF system with heat recovery, which enables simultaneous heating and cooling.  This is a great advantage in a building whose large windows and orientation to the sun often result in a warm side and a cool side during the shoulder seasons.  

The VRF system is integrated with a new digital building automation system and occupancy sensors, which ensure that no energy is wasted on unoccupied spaces.

Climate Heating & Cooling of Pittsfield, MA, completed installation of the VRF system in September 2017.  Jim Sorrentino, Hillcrest’s Director of Facilities, has been pleased with the system’s performance, particularly during this winter’s unusually severe cold snap in late December through early January. “The ability of the system to keep up with extreme cold in a building that was designed in the 1960’s with limited insulation is extraordinary.  Consistent temperatures from classroom to classroom are spot on,” he said. 

The total cost for the VRF component of the HVAC project was $105,000; the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center awarded a grant of $24,700 for the project through its Commercial-Scale Air-Source Heat Pump program.  The program offers grants of up to $250,000 per project, depending on system size, features and ownership.  

Program details can be found here.