Heating, ventilating and air- conditioning systems are often invisible to the occupant. Hidden behind walls and snaking through ceilings, HVAC is noticed only when it breaks down.
McQuay International, a subsidiary of Daikin Industries Ltd. based in Plymouth, Minn., and a longtime HVAC systems manufacturer, has decided to bring them into plain view with the Daikin-McQuay Solutions Plaza in Jersey City, N.J. The 21st floor of a commercial tower on the Hudson River waterfront has been converted into a combination showroom/demonstration area for McQuay’s HVAC products. Variable-flow chillers and vertical-stack heat pumps are scattered throughout the showroom floor alongside touch-screen display kiosks.
“It’s a showcase for new technology to show buyers, owners and industry peers what we are doing,” says Ron Hanlon, chief operating officer for McQuay International. “We also want to bring in owners, engineers and architects and listen to their ideas about what their future requirements will be.”
McQuay has brought in some of its latest products, including its Magnitude WME Magnetic Bearing Chiller and its Vertical-Stack Water-Source Heat Pump. In addition to actual equipment, there are displays on McQuay’s prefabricated Modular Central Plants and demonstrations of energy-performance software.
Not every piece of equipment on the floor is a display model. McQuay has arranged for the floor’s chillers and air handlers to be replaced with its own equipment. The company considers the air quality itself as proof of its products’ performance. Two 50-ton McQuay units cool the floor and are on display in a modified mechanical space. “What we wanted to do was open it up and show our customers what an actual system looks like,” says Ray Good, director of product management for McQuay’s chiller products.
The emphasis on demonstration is something McQuay adopted from its overseas partners. “The Daikin-McQuay Solutions Plaza in Jersey City is an international facility, modeled after Daikin’s facilities in Japan, China and Belgium,” said Noriyuki Inoue, chairman and CEO of Daikin Industries. McQuay’s Hanlon sees potential for collaboration. “We try to reach out even before the standard construction cycle, even before somebody is thinking about a building, just to make them aware of what’s out there,” he says.
At the center of the showroom is a glass-walled conference room. The air-handling system here is separate from the rest of the floor: a McQuay Maverick II water-cooled, variable-refrigerant-volume system on display runs to evaporator cassettes in the ceiling. The conference room also features a live video feed of McQuay’s testing facility in Staunton, Va.
McQuay will be using the Solutions Plaza not only to court customers but also as an educational facility, running training sessions for up to 40 people on the performance of HVAC systems and energy-efficient building design. “There is a need for greater training, especially in studying high-performance buildings,” says Gordon Holness, current president of ASHRAE. McQuay is working with ASHRAE and the U.S. Green Building Council to set up training sessions for continuing-education credits.