Sheraton Case Study Image 1
Sheraton Case Study Image 1

Sheraton Hotel and Resort, VRF System Guest Room Heating and Cooling System Conversion

Rimkus was the Mechanical and Electrical Consultant for the massive renovation project, breathing new life into all of the nearly 1,400 guest suites in the flagship Sheraton Centre Toronto Hotel.

August 11, 2016

Client: Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide Inc.

Project Address:
123 Queen Street West, Toronto, ON

Project Value: $22,000,000 (Mechanical and Electrical Scope)

Client Contact: Wendy Groves (formally with Hospitality 3 LLC) – Project Manager

Dates: 2012 to 2013 – investigation and design

2014 to 2016 – construction

Project Description: Rimkus was the Mechanical and Electrical Consultant for the massive renovation project, breathing new life into all of the nearly 1,400 guest suites in the flagship Sheraton Centre Toronto Hotel. 

This project involved replacing an aging and inadequate 2-pipe fan coil system for close to 1,400 guest suites with a water-cooled variable refrigerant flow (VRF) system.  Since the building was constructed, guest suites only had the capability to be either all in heating mode or all in a cooling mode based on the nature of a 2-pipe system, meaning that hotel guests were restricted with their ability to control their room climate.  The ownership group expressed a desire to update the hotel heating and cooling systems to one capable of simultaneous heating and cooling from suite to suite in an effort to stay competitive with other 4-star hotels. 

A VRF system is currently considered the most energy-efficient heating and cooling system (excluding renewable options) available in the market. At the time of installation, this represented the largest installation of VRF technology outside of Asia and is now commonly adopted in North America for a wide variety of heating and cooling applications. 

A detailed feasibility study and energy model were prepared for the ownership team to consider what options were available to upgrade their in-suite mechanical systems to allow for simultaneous heating and cooling for the purpose of enhancing guest climate control comfort levels.

The design team carefully considered the unique construction constraints associated with renovation of an occupied residential building to minimize guest disruptions, while leaving the existing 2-pipe fan coil units operational for guest rooms floors where renovations had not yet started.   These constraints, along with superior energy performance compared to the alternatives made the VRF technology a clear choice for the renovation. 

Within the guest suites, the existing 2-pipe fan coil unit console was positioned on the floor in front of the windows.  For all the suites, the new VRF fan coil unit was repositioned above either the washroom or entrance corridor of the hotel room which help the property add valuable usable floor area to their existing layouts.

The existing cooling tower plant was utilized for the new VRF system to reject heat, and our design required us to displace some of the back-of-house services to install water-cooled condensing units on each floor level.  Coordination with the management team and innovative design allowed us to be able to create new back-of-house spaces and give back as much area as possible.

A maximum of six floors were under renovation throughout the project as the construction team worked their way down the towers.  Each week, a new floor would be finished and turned over to the owner and the next floor would be taken offline to begin the renovation process.  The total construction timeframe lasted 18 months.   Throughout the period of construction, Rimkus had a dedicated team member that worked on-site once a week to ensure construction was progressing on schedule, change orders and site instructors were minimized, standards were being maintained and the stakeholders were well informed. 

The hotel ownership group took a calculated risk on one of their highest-profile properties to implement a technology that had not been widely adopted in North America at the time.  The design team helped the Ownership team by delivering a successful project with an innovative design, guidance, and project oversight. 

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